Iran news headlines on Wednesday include Iranian Foreign Minister proposing Cairo for nuke talks with powers; fall of Iran’s output of cars due to sanctions; Russian Foreign Minister urging Iran to speed up nuclear cooperation; Netanyahu remarks over focusing on Iran’s nuclear program after reelection and Japanese police detaining three in connection with alleged illegal money transfers to an Iranian shipping firm.
Iran has suggested that the next round of nuclear talks with world powers should take place in Cairo, the ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the Islamic state’s foreign minister. “When I was in Egypt … it was suggested that the next meeting be held in Cairo,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying by ISNA on Wednesday. “This issue was welcomed by our dear friends in Egypt and Egypt will consult with the P5+1 for hosting this meeting.”
Iran’s output of cars – the country’s biggest non-oil industry – has fallen by about 50 per cent, as the tightening international sanctions over the country’s nuclear programme aggravate economic woes. Production dropped to 677,000 cars in the first nine months of the Persian year that started in March, from 1.2m during the same period last year.
Russia on Wednesday urged Iran to speed up its answers to the U.N. nuclear watchdog addressing suspicions that Tehran is operating an atomic weapons program. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said world powers had questions “about what may be — has been or is — a military component to the nuclear program. “Iran has underscored its desire to fully agree this document (on clearing up the suspicions),” Lavrov told reporters.
Russia warned Israel and the West on Wednesday against any military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities but suggested Tehran should be quicker to cooperate over inspections of its nuclear sites. Speaking at his annual news conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov mixed words of caution over isolating Iran or attacking it with a gentle nudge to Tehran over the inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed victory in Israel’s parliamentary election, shrugging off surprise losses to centre-left challengers and vowing to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. However, Tuesday’s vote, which also disappointed religiously inspired hardliners, may deflect the premier’s focus on confronting Tehran and resisting Palestinian demands as Israel’s secular middle-class demanded new attention on domestic issues.
Japanese police have arrested two men and a woman in connection with alleged illegal money transfers to an Iranian shipping firm suspected of involvement in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme, Japanese media said on Wednesday. The three employees of Tokyo-based shipping agent Ben Line Agencies Japan deny the charges, the reports said.
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