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Iran says it is ready to continue to cooperate with the UN's nuclear watchdog but called on the agency “not to yield to Israel’s pressure” over Tehran’s nuclear activities.
The comments by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani on September 12 come ahead of a key meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency and reports that Iran has developed a new drone that it says could target cities in Israel.
The IAEA’s Board of Governors is scheduled to meet on September 12, three months after adopting a resolution urging Iran to give credible answers to the agency's investigations into uranium traces at three sites in Iran and amid ongoing efforts to save a 2015 pact to limit Iran’s nuclear activities.
European countries have mediated indirect talks between Washington and Tehran to revive the pact, which then-President Donald Trump exited in 2018 before imposing strict economic sanctions on Tehran.
France, Germany, and Britain on September 10 urged Iran to agree to a proposed relaunch of the pact, saying final texts of a deal have been readied but Iran “has chosen not to seize this critical diplomatic opportunity.”
The three European governments said in a joint statement that Iran has instead raised “separate issues” and “continues to escalate its nuclear program way beyond any plausible civilian justification.”
The IAEA said on September 7 that it believes Iran has further increased its stockpile of highly enriched uranium to one short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels.
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In June, the IAEA censured Iran for traces of uranium found at three undeclared sites in 2019. Iran dismissed the IAEA motion as "politicized" and responded by removing surveillance cameras at key sites in response -- depriving negotiators of up-to-date information on the country's uranium enrichment program.
Meanwhile, Iran announced on September 12 it has developed an advanced long-range suicide drone "designed to hit Israel's Tel Aviv, Haifa," the semiofficial Mehr News quoted Iran’s ground forces chief as saying.
Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari said the drone, named Arash-2, is a newer version of Arash-1.
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