Sanctions removal talks
Britain, France and Germany say JCPOA revival talks between Iran and P4+1 group are reaching their final stage and now require political decisions. In a joint statement the so-called E3 countries say the participants now go back to their capitals for consultations until next week. Meanwhile a French presidential office official says Iran’s demands for guarantees are among the issues that need more clarification. This comes one day after a senior advisor to the US president said Washington and Tehran are in the ballpark of a possible deal. That is the most optimistic statement from the Biden administration since the sanctions removal talks resumed in Vienna last December.
“West creating panic”
And now the latest on the ongoing tensions between Russia and NATO over Ukraine. Kiev calls on Western media to avoid stirring up panic. Zelensky said panic is also driven by western leaders who are talking of an imminent war. He warned of costs for Ukraine’s already battered economy. Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US and NATO ignored Moscow's fundamental concerns. He said they include NATO's expansion and deployment of offensive weapons systems near Russian borders. Moscow has sought binding guarantees that the alliance would not move near its borders and into Ukraine. That’s amid accusations that Russia has built up troops at its western border to invade Ukraine. Moscow rejects the accusations. It says the military buildup is a response to threats posed by NATO.
UK partygate scandal
The British police say they have obtained information on parties held at prime minister’s office and residence during coronavirus lock-downs. The police say the information will help them decide whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his staff broke the covid restrictions they imposed themselves. The police also rejected having delayed the publication of its report on the breaches. It said the Cabinet Office is responsible for the timing of release of the required information. The revelations have put Johnson’s future at risk. Many lawmakers from his own party and the opposition are angered by the delay in the investigation into the events. They are calling for his resignation. But the premier who is also accused of lying to parliament about the events has asked the lawmakers to wait for the report.