Ruling out interim agreement
Iran’s foreign minister rules out the possibility of accepting an interim and limited agreement in talks aimed at reviving the 2015 deal, known as the JCPOA. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Iran wants to reach a good deal that secures its national interests. The top diplomat welcomed the sanctions waiver the US granted to Iran on Friday. Amir-Abdollahian, however, said practical measures by the US and the remaining JCPOA parties matter to Iran rather than what happens on paper. Iran and those JCPOA parties are expected to resume negotiations in the Austrian capital in the coming days. Tehran wants the removal of sanctions that the US imposed following its unilateral pullout in 2018. Tehran also seeks guarantees that Washington won’t leave the deal again.
Israel AU accreditation row
The African Union suspends a debate on whether to revoke Israel's observer status following a controversy over the regime’s accreditation last year. Diplomats say a committee will be set up to study the issue, and will submit its conclusion next year. They say the committee will have six members including South Africa and Algeria. Both countries objected a unilateral decision by the head of the African Union commission last July to grant Israel observer status. They said they had not been consulted. The bloc took the latest decision regarding Israel during its two-day summit that opened Saturday. The same day, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh addressed the gathering. He urged the AU to withdraw Israel's accreditation. Shtayyeh said Israel should never be rewarded for its violations and the apartheid regime it imposes on the Palestinian people.
UK energy prices hike
The Scottish government's energy secretary raises the alarm about the consequences of an ongoing hike in energy prices in the UK. Michael Matheson says, in Scotland alone, up to 900-thousand homes could be either in fuel poverty or extreme fuel poverty. Britain’s energy regulator, Ofgem, has said bills will see a record high of nearly 700 pounds a year from April. That will be a rise of over 50 percent. UK inflation is also on course to increase above seven percent this year. That could leave households facing the biggest income squeeze in decades.