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JCPOA REVIVAL TALKS 

Tehran says it wants guarantees that new sanctions won’t be imposed on Iran, as the country continues talks with the remaining parties to the 2015 deal. The Iranian foreign minister says his country demands removal of all sanctions imposed after the US withdrew from the agreement, known as the JCPOA. In an interview with Aljazeera, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian declared Iran wants assurances that it will be able to export oil and access its revenues. He said the ongoing negotiations in Vienna between Iran and the P4+1 are moving forward in the right direction. He said a good agreement can be reached in the talks if the Western negotiators show determination. 

 

EAST ASIA TENSIONS

New comments by the US and Japan about China’s policies draw an angry reaction from Beijing. China now says it has lodged a formal complaint with both states. Foreign and defense ministers of the US and Japan, in their latest meeting, voiced concern about China's growing might. They said Beijing’s efforts to undermine the rules-based order present challenges to the region and the world. Japan and the US pledged to work together to deter, and if necessary, respond to what they called destabilizing activities in the region. The US and its regional allies are at odds with China over a series of issues including Taiwan. China says Taiwan is part of its territory, and is opposed to the US’s military support for the island.

 

KAZAKHSTAN PROTESTS

Kazakhstan began the New Year with a spike in fuel prices that triggered protests across the country. Now president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev says constitutional order has been mainly restored in all regions, and the situation is under control. The president says an ongoing anti-terrorist operation will continue until “militants” are completely eliminated. He says he has ordered security forces to open fire without warning in case of further unrest. Tokayev says up to 20,000 bandits have attacked the main city Almaty where they destroyed state property. The protests in Almaty and other Kazakh cities turned violent this week with clashes between protesters and security forces. The government says 44 people were killed. They included security forces and people whom the government called armed criminals. Thousands more were arrested. A regional peacekeeping force led by Russia is now in Kazakhstan to help it restore security. 

 


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