Tehran

Regional News • Middle East
Iran told IAEA it is enriching uranium with 20% purity

On January 1, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the Iranian government had told the watchdog it planned to resume enrichment up to 20% at Fordo site, buried inside a mountain. The announcement would put Tehran's program a technical step away from weapons-grade levels.

The Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabeie said, "A few minutes ago, the process of producing 20% enriched uranium has started in Fordo enrichment complex."

Regional News • Middle East
Iran's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassinated, according to state media
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh's car after the alleged assassination
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh's car after the alleged assassination Credit: Fars News Agency, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's top nuclear scientist, has been assassinated near Tehran on Friday, according Iran's semi-official news agency ISNA. Fakhrizadeh was injured after armed assassins fired at his car and died later in the hospital.

"Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today," Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said in a tweet. "This cowardice -- with serious indications of Israeli role -- shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators Iran calls on int'l community -- and especially EU -- to end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror."

Ali Akbar Velayati, international affairs adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated that "the Iranian nation will avenge the blood of this great martyr from the terrorist elements and their supporters."

On Saturday, Iran's president Hassan Rouhani accused Israel of the assassination, saying that "once again, the evil hands of Global Arrogance and the Zionist (Israeli) mercenaries were stained with the blood of an Iranian son" and adding "Iran will surely respond to the martyrdom of our scientist at the proper time." Israel has not responded to the accusation yet.

Regional News • Middle East
Scientist considered as the architect of the Iranian nuclear program assassinated

A leading Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated near the capital Tehran on Friday, Iran's Defense Ministry announced on state television. Iran's state media reports that the scientist died during an attack in the Absard area of the province of Damavand, about 60 kilometres east of Tehran.

Western officials and experts believe Fakhrizadeh played a pivotal role in suspected Iranian work in the past to develop the means to assemble a nuclear warhead behind the facade of a declared civilian uranium enrichment programme.

In 2018, Netanyahu gave a presentation in which he unveiled what he described as material stolen by Israel from an Iranian nuclear archive and showed a photograph of Fakhrizadeh.

Regional News • Middle East
Iran enriched uranium stockpile '10 times limit' set in the nuclear deal
The ministers of foreign affairs and other officials from the P5+1 countries, the European Union and Iran while announcing the framework of a Comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme
The ministers of foreign affairs and other officials from the P5+1 countries, the European Union and Iran while announcing the framework of a Comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme Credit: United States Department of State (Public Domain)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said Tehran continues to violate the limitations set in the 2015 nuclear deal with the US, Germany, France, the UK, China and Russia. The limit was set at 300kg of enriched uranium, while the country now has 2,105kg.

The watchdog noted, however, that Iran's stockpile remains far below the many tons of enriched uranium Iran had amassed before the 2015 deal and that its stockpile of heavy water had decreased and is now back within the JCPOA limits.

Regional News • Middle East
Hassan Rouhani estimates 25 million Iranians had Covid-19
President Hassan Rouhani
President Hassan Rouhani Credit: Hosseinronaghi (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech Saturday that around 25 million Iranians may have been infected with Covid-19. The number is an estimate from a health ministry research report and corresponds to more than 30% of the country’s population.

Iran's authorities reimposed restrictions for a week in Tehran. Religious and cultural functions are banned, boarding schools, cafes, indoor pools, amusement parks and zoos will be closed.

Regional News • Middle East
Iran issued arrest warrant for Donald Trump "on charges of murder and terrorist action"
Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qasem Soleimani in 2019
Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qasem Soleimani in 2019 Credit: khamenei.ir / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Iran has issued an arrest warrant for Donald Trump and more than 30 other unnamed individuals for their alleged involvement in the killing of General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020. The warrants have been issued on the charges of murder and terrorist action, and Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr has asked Interpol to put out a "red notice", the highest-level notice by Interpol, for Trump and the others involved.

A red notice allows local authorities to arrests suspects on behalf of the country that made the request. Interpol's involvement is unlikely as the notice forbids "from undertaking any intervention or activities of a political" nature.