Slamming IAEA report
Iran has denounced the UN nuclear watchdog for its Wednesday report that has raised concerns over changes to equipment at an Iranian nuclear site. Iran’s nuclear chief, Mohammad Eslami, said the IAEA's report is based on a mistake by an inspector during a visit to the Fordow plant. Tehran has written to the agency, explaining the inspector's mistake, but the agency publicized the issue, he added. The Iranian official criticized the agency’s behavior as unprofessional and unacceptable. Eslami has warned that such practices would harm IAEA’s reputation. The US and its European allies have issued a joint statement, accusing Iran of being inconsistent with its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They say Tehran’s response to the agency is inadequate.
Chinese balloon downed
The United States says it has shot down what it calls a Chinese spy balloon that flew across America during the past week. The US military said one of its fighter jets downed the balloon with a missile over the Atlantic Ocean when it floated off the southeastern coast of the country. The military had previously warned that a shoot-down over land could risk casualties on the ground. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the balloon was being used by China to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States. China, however, said the balloon was for civilian meteorological purposes and it had strayed into US airspace. The incident brought a new low to already tense relations between the two sides. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed his visit to China over the incident.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators have once again hit the streets in Tel Aviv to protest against the policies of the right-wing cabinet led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The protesters chanted slogans against Netanyahu and carried banners and signs that read a "cabinet of shame” and "bring down the dictator." Israelis were protesting against the Netanyahu's cabinet for the fifth straight week. Protesters are expressing their disapproval of what they call a fascist cabinet and its proposed reforms, which are meant to increase Netanyahu's political power. Netanyahu returned to power at the head of a coalition with extreme-right and ultra-orthodox parties. The cabinet is planning to hand over more powers to lawmakers in appointing judges and overriding the rulings of the regime’s supreme court. The coalition also intends to intensify the regime's expansionist policy with building more settlement units in the occupied West Bank.
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