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Iran complying with nuclear deal: UN watchdog

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Iran is complying so far with the July 2015 landmark nuclear deal with major powers, a report from the UN atomic watchdog seen by AFP showed on Friday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s first assessment since the accord came into force on January 16 showed that Iran was meeting its main commitments.

As agreed, Iran “has not pursued the construction of the existing Arak heavy water research reactor” and has “not enriched uranium” above low levels, the IAEA report said.

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Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium, material which can be used for peaceful purposes but when further processed for a nuclear weapon, has not risen about the agreed level of 300 kilos (660 pounds).

The Vienna-based IAEA added that “all stored centrifuges and associated infrastructure have remained in storage under continuous Agency monitoring” and no enriched uranium has been accumulated through research and development activities.

The steps taken by Iran under the 2015 deal extend to at least a year, up from a few months before the accord, the length of time Tehran would need to make one nuclear bomb’s worth of fissile material.

They included slashing by two-thirds its uranium centrifuges, slashing its stockpile of uranium — several tonnes before the deal, enough for several bombs — and removing the core of the Arak reactor which could have given Iran weapons-grade plutonium.

Centrifuges are machines that “enrich” uranium by increasing the proportion of a fissile isotope, rendering it suitable for other purposes.

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Throughout the 12-year standoff that preceded the deal, Iran always denied wanting nuclear weapons, saying its activities are exclusively for peaceful purposes such as power generation.

In return for the scaling down of its nuclear activities, painful UN and Western sanctions were lifted on the Islamic republic, including on its lifeblood oil exports.

The IAEA report did also say however that Iran briefly went above the agreed need of 130 tonnes of “heavy water” for the Arak reactor by 900 kilos since the deal came into force.

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But the level of this material has since fallen back down below 130 tonnes, and this was not expected to be seen as a major violation of the 2015 agreement.


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Internet celebrates Joy Reid taking MSNBC nighttime anchor slot

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Joy Reid will be the new anchor for MSNBC's 7 PM hour starting July 20, and the internet is celebrating. The veteran journalist has been an MSNBC anchor, host, political correspondent, analyst, and commentator for over six years.

Last month The Wall Street Journal reported Reid was in negotiations with the cable news network for the 7 PM slot, calling her "combative and inquisitive and not afraid to challenge guests." Thursday morning The New York Times announced Reid will take over the slot once held by Chris Matthews.

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2020 Election

Biden beats Trump to the punch with massive ‘Buy American’ spending package — and GOP allies are fuming

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Some of President Donald Trump's "economic nationalist" allies are furious that Joe Biden beat the White House to the punch with a "Buy American" policy push.

The president's former chief strategist Steve Bannon told the Washington Post's Jeff Stein that Biden's $300 billion domestic spending proposal was "very smart," and said the likely Democratic nominee had scored a win.

"The campaign and White House have been caught flat-footed," Bannon said. "Biden has very smart people around him, particularly on the economic side."

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2020 Election

Fox News pundit: Tax returns ruling against Trump is ‘a win for him’ and ‘will help the president’

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Fox News pundit Katie Pavlich argued on Thursday that a Supreme Court ruling which opened the door for prosecutors to obtain Donald Trump's tax returns is actually "a win" for the president.

Pavlich made the remarks after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance can request the president's tax records in a public corruption case.

"I think it's a win and a little bit of a loss for President Trump," Pavlich explained. "In the sense that he will now have to deal with a number of these issues and other presidents in the future will as well, whether they are valid requests for information or not and whether they are being made for political for reasons or for valid criminal investigations."

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