Iran acknowledged that traces of weapons-grade uranium were found at one of its nuclear facilities but denied enriching the material. Iran's foreign minister said his country was prepared to allow unfettered nuclear inspections. \nForeign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Monday his country has "nothing to hide" from inspectors. But he said before Iran signs a protocol allowing the more severe inspections, it wants assurances that that move will end the conflict over its nuclear program. \n"We want to make sure that additional protocol is going to solve the problems and it is going to be enough," Kharrazi told reporters at the UN. \nThe UN International Atomic Energy Agency has demanded that Iran agree by Oct. 31 to allow unfettered inspections and stop all uranium enrichment. The US, Europe and Russia have hiked up pressure on Tehran to meet the deadline. \nThe IAEA is sending a team to Iran for key negotiations Thursday. Then -- the agency hopes -- a new round of inspections will begin Friday. \nIran insists it will not stop uranium enrichment and that it has a right to a peaceful nuclear program, as allowed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT. As a signatory, Iran is prohibited from developing nuclear weapons. \n"We have always stressed that we don't have any program to produce a nuclear weapons and all our activities are legal in the framework of our commitment to the NPT and our rights based on NPT and under the safeguard of IAEA," Kharrazi said. \n"Everyone talks about signing additional protocol, and in principle, we don't have any problem to have more severe inspections because we don't have anything to hide," he said. \nEgyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, who met with Kharrazi on Monday, said the Iranians hope their efforts to clear up the nuclear issue will be reciprocated. \n"The Iranians showed flexibility. They hope -- as he [Kharrazi] mentioned to us -- that they will be met with flexibility from the other side," Maher told reporters. \nIn Tehran, Iran's representative to the IAEA acknowledged that traces of enriched uranium were found at the Kalay-e Electric Co., just west of Tehran. Diplomats said last week that IAEA inspectors had uncovered the traces at the site -- the second such find following the discovery of traces earlier this year at a plant in Natanz. \nBut Ali Akbar Salehi, speaking on Tehran television, ruled out that the enriched uranium found at either site was produced in Iran. Tehran maintains that traces of the new enriched material were imported on equipment purchased from abroad. \n"It needs a lot of centrifuges to work for a long time to enrich uranium," he told the TV station. "The IAEA and we know that there has been no such level of activity in Iran." \nThe United States, however, has pointed the discoveries as evidence that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons. \nIAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said the agency had no comment on the Iranian acknowledgment of the find at Kalay-e. \nChristopher Paine, a nonproliferation expert at the Washington-based National Resources Defense Council, said Iran's argument was "plausible." But Thomas Cochran, with the same think tank, said it was unlikely that Iran would not have checked any used equipment for traces of contamination. \nA diplomat familiar with the Iran nuclear issue, speaking in Vienna on condition of anonymity, said there was no way of telling from the samples available to the IAEA whether the Iranian explanation for the two discoveries was true. \nThe European Union on Monday called on Iran to "immediately comply" with the IAEA's demand for unfettered inspections and to sign the additional protocol to the NPT "without delay as a first and essential step to restore international trust." \n"The Iranian nuclear program remains a matter of grave concern for the EU," the 15-member union's foreign ministers said in a statement after a gathering in Brussels. \nIran repeated its stance Monday that it would not back off a nuclear program it insists is purely for energy production. \n"We don't accept any restrictions on the peaceful use of nuclear energy," government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told reported on Monday. "Peaceful use of nuclear energy is the right of the Iranian nation and we won't compromise on this."
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete