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Iran, IAEA cooperation 

President Raeisi says Tehran will continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency if the IAEA preserves its independence and defends the rights of the Iranian people. Ebrahim Raeisi made the remarks in a meeting with UN nuclear chief, Rafael Grossi. He said Tehran expects the agency’s activities not to be under the influence of certain world powers who pursue their personal interests. The President also called on the IAEA to express realities about Iran’s nuclear program without any partiality and based on professional behavior. Raeisi said the United States and Israel put Iran under pressure over its nuclear program while Tel Aviv is not even a party to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. For his part, Grossi hailed relations between Iran and the IAEA as positive. Earlier in a press conference, Grossi said he had constructive meeting with Iranian officials during his visit to Tehran.

Russia, Ukraine war

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has paid a rare visit to Russian forces deployed in Ukraine.  According to the ministry, Shoigu inspected a command post of the Eastern Military District in the South Donetsk direction. He awarded medals to Russian forces. His visit comes as fierce fighting continues for control of the city of Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine. Russian forces have now got closer to encircle the entire city. The Ukrainians are resisting, with more troops heading toward the frontline. Capturing Bakhmut would be a major gain for Russia over the past months. its seizure will pave the way for Moscow to take control of the rest of Ukraine’s Donbas region. 

Korean Peninsula tensions

North Korea condemns its neighboring South and the United States over plans to conduct large-scale military exercises. North Korea’s foreign ministry said Washington is to blame for the collapse of international arms control systems, adding Pyongyang's nuclear weapons are a just response to ensure the balance of power in the region. It also said The Korean peninsula is turning into the world's biggest war game field due to a military expansion scheme led by the US and its allies. It warned a military build-up by Seoul, Tokyo and Washington crosses a danger line, which Pyongyang would not tolerate. The comments followed the US and South Korea's announcement that they plan to conduct drills from March 13 to 23. North Korea says such military drills are provocative and sees them as rehearsals for an invasion. 

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