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Iran-IAEA agreement

Iran’s foreign minister says Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency have reached a good agreement that could ease alleged concerns over the country’s peaceful nuclear activities. Hossein Amirabdollahian said the agreement can help boost cooperation between Iran and the IAEA, which has occasionally attempted to use its technical capacity to wield political influence on JCPOA revival talks. Amirabdollahian did not elaborate on the agreement. But the Nour News website, which is close to Iran’s supreme national security council, said Tehran has voluntarily allowed the agency to replace its damaged cameras at the Karaj site. The website said the decision came upon the completion of checks on the affected cameras as well as the IAEA’s step to condemn the act of vandalism against the site. The IAEA had previously asked for access to the Karaj site that came under a sabotage attack in June. Amirabdollahian also touched on the ongoing talks in Vienna, saying he is optimistic about progress in negotiations.

Russia-NATO tensions

Russia says it has delivered to the United States its proposals for security guarantees over NATO’s eastward expansion. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov handed the proposals to the US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. That, after President Vladimir Putin said he wanted talks with Washington to start immediately. Moscow is asking for legal guarantees that the western military alliance will not use Ukraine as a launching pad. The Kremlin has expressed hope that NATO will give a positive evaluation to the demands. Tensions run high between Moscow and the West over Ukraine. Germany is the latest to issue a warning, saying Russia will pay a hefty price if invades Ukraine. 

UK PM under pressure

Britain’s opposition Labor Party leader has come down hard on Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Keir Starmer added that Johnson is too weak to lead. The premier, however, claimed that he had taken a balanced and proportionate approach toward tackling the pandemic which was right for the UK. This comes a day after nearly 100 of his own party MPs broke ranks and rebelled against new restrictions over the spread of the Omicron variant. Johnson is also facing back-to-back scandals which have undermined his own popularity as well as support for Conservatives. People are angry over a leak video showing Johnson’s top aides talking about a Downing Street Christmas party during last year’s Covid lockdowns. The prime minister is also under fire over the costly refurbishment of his residence.

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