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France’s top envoy to hold key talks with Iran

PARIS: A French envoy was in Tehran on Tuesday to boost European efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal, after Iran warned Europe against retaliatory measures for breaching a uranium enrichment cap. The accord between Tehran and world powers promised sanctions relief, economic benefits and an end to international isolation of the country in return for…

France’s top envoy to hold key talks with Iran

PARIS: A French envoy was in Tehran on Tuesday to boost European efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal, after Iran warned Europe against retaliatory measures for breaching a uranium enrichment cap.

The accord between Tehran and world powers promised sanctions relief, economic benefits and an end to international isolation of the country in return for stringent curbs on its nuclear program. It has been more than a year after President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the agreement.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), tasked with inspections, while Iran consistently lived up to its commitments under the deal until recently it is now in breach of two of them.

French President Emmanuel Macron sent his top diplomatic adviser, Emmanuel Bonne, to Tehran after Iran announced on Monday it had passed 4.5 percent uranium enrichment — above the 3.7 percent limit under the agreement.

Bonne is “to piece together a de-escalation” strategy, the French presidency’s office said.

After the US withdrew in May 2018 and reimposed stinging sanctions on Iran, especially on its banking and oil sectors, the future of the accord became uncertain.

As the Iranian economy went into free-fall, Tehran demanded that the other parties to the deal, especially France, Germany and Britain, deliver the promised economic benefits and help it bypass US sanctions. However, it gradually became clear that this was no simple task.

In May, a year after Trump’s withdrawal, President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran would roll back its commitments under the deal in stages every 60 days in an effort to force the other parties to deliver on their side of the bargain.

As tensions rose the US dispatched a naval carrier, bombers and extra troops to the region to counter perceived threats from Iran.

Last month, Trump said he had called off a retaliatory military strike against Iran at the last minute after Tehran shot down a US drone that it said had crossed into its airspace, a claim denied by Washington.

The IAEA confirmed on Monday that Iran had enriched uranium to a level above the deal’s cap of 3.67 percent, though the 4.5-percent level reported by Tehran is still far below the 90 percent necessary for military purposes.

The UN nuclear watchdog confirmed this month that Iran has exceeded a 300-km limit on enriched uranium reserves, another cap that was imposed by the deal.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautioned Iran on Tuesday that it is within range of Israeli airstrikes, citing what he described as Iranian threats to destroy Israel.

“Iran recently has been threatening Israel’s destruction,” Netanyahu said at an Israeli air force base, where he viewed a squadron of advanced US-built F-35 warplanes.

“It should remember that these planes can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran, and certainly Syria,” he said in a YouTube video clip filmed at the base, with an F-35 in the background.

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Middle East News

Kuwait hands Muslim Brotherhood-linked militants to Egypt

DUBAI: Arab coalition forces have killed dozens of Iranian-backed Houthi militants including a field commander and wounded others during air strikes in the provinces of Al-Dhale and Al-Bayda in southern and central Yemen on Sunday, according to Saudi state-news agency SPA. According to the Yemeni national military website “SeptemberNet”, 13 Houthi militants were killed in…

Kuwait hands Muslim Brotherhood-linked militants to Egypt

DUBAI: Arab coalition forces have killed dozens of Iranian-backed Houthi militants including a field commander and wounded others during air strikes in the provinces of Al-Dhale and Al-Bayda in southern and central Yemen on Sunday, according to Saudi state-news agency SPA.

According to the Yemeni national military website “SeptemberNet”, 13 Houthi militants were killed in attacks against the Yemeni armed forces in Qataba in the south province of Dhale, including the Abu Sharif Abdullah Hizam Mutahar commander of the “rapid intervention forces”, was among the dozens killed.

The militia attempted to infiltrate Yemen army positions at the fronts of the Ghalq and Shakhb. But government forces managed to stop them and forced the militants to flee towards Ibb province.

The Arab coalition forces launched several air strikes targeting the militants that were in Nate east of Al-Bayda.

Several members of the militia were killed and others injured in Al-Bark and Bawwas.

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Middle East News

Dozens of Houthis killed, including a field commander in Yemen

DUBAI: Arab coalition forces have killed dozens of Iranian-backed Houthi militants including a field commander and wounded others during air strikes in the provinces of Al-Dhale and Al-Bayda in southern and central Yemen on Sunday, according to Saudi state-news agency SPA. According to the Yemeni national military website “SeptemberNet”, 13 Houthi militants were killed in…

Dozens of Houthis killed, including a field commander in Yemen

DUBAI: Arab coalition forces have killed dozens of Iranian-backed Houthi militants including a field commander and wounded others during air strikes in the provinces of Al-Dhale and Al-Bayda in southern and central Yemen on Sunday, according to Saudi state-news agency SPA.

According to the Yemeni national military website “SeptemberNet”, 13 Houthi militants were killed in attacks against the Yemeni armed forces in Qataba in the south province of Dhale, including the Abu Sharif Abdullah Hizam Mutahar commander of the “rapid intervention forces”, was among the dozens killed.

The militia attempted to infiltrate Yemen army positions at the fronts of the Ghalq and Shakhb. But government forces managed to stop them and forced the militants to flee towards Ibb province.

The Arab coalition forces launched several air strikes targeting the militants that were in Nate east of Al-Bayda.

Several members of the militia were killed and others injured in Al-Bark and Bawwas.

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Middle East News

Egyptian delegation seeks to prevent new Gaza flare-up

RAMALLAH: Egyptian security officials have held talks with Palestinian leaders in recent days in part to prevent a new flare-up of tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said Sunday.The Egyptian delegation led by deputy intelligence chief Ayman Badie was in the Gaza Strip on Friday and Saturday and the occupied West Bank…

Egyptian delegation seeks to prevent new Gaza flare-up

RAMALLAH: Egyptian security officials have held talks with Palestinian leaders in recent days in part to prevent a new flare-up of tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said Sunday.The Egyptian delegation led by deputy intelligence chief Ayman Badie was in the Gaza Strip on Friday and Saturday and the occupied West Bank on Saturday, the officials said.A statement on Saturday from Hamas said the discussions included talks on “understandings with the enemy” — a reference to a fragile cease-fire with Israel tested in recent days.Contacted on Sunday, a Hamas official said the movement did not want to comment further beyond its official statements.Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas met with the delegation in Ramallah on Saturday on the Gaza-Israel cease-fire and attempts to heal the long-existing division between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah, official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.Fresh tensions were feared after Israel shot dead a Hamas militant on Thursday along the border with the Gaza Strip, prompting the movement to vow revenge.Israel later signalled it had fired in error, saying an initial inquiry showed soldiers misidentified a Hamas security agent as “an armed terrorist and fired as a result of this misunderstanding.”On Friday night, Israel’s military said two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, but no damage or injuries were reported.Earlier in the day, at least 33 Palestinians were shot and wounded during weekly demonstrations and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.Under a fragile cease-fire brokered by Egyptian and UN officials following a severe flare-up in May, Israel is meant to ease aspects of its blockade on the strip in exchange for relative calm.At least 295 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since major Hamas-backed protests began along the border fence in March 2018.Most were killed during the protests and clashes but others died in air strikes or tank fire in response to violence from the strip.Six Israelis have been killed.Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

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