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Iran says will begin uranium enrichment at Fordow if nuclear deal unravels

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Iran will begin uranium enrichment at its Fordow plant and will install new nuclear equipment at its Natanz facility if it withdraws from a nuclear deal with major powers, said the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI).

The fate of the 2015 nuclear deal is unclear after the United States withdrew from it. The other signatory nations – Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France – are trying to salvage the accord, which imposed curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in return for a lifting of some economic sanctions.

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Iran has two vast enrichment sites, at Natanz and Fordow. Much of Natanz is deep underground and Fordow is buried inside a mountain, which is widely believed to protect them from aerial bombardment.

AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said in an interview published on Wednesday that new work would begin on the nuclear program on the orders of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He did not specify what kind of new equipment might be installed at Natanz.

“Currently the Supreme Leader has ordered that the programs be carried out within the parameters of the nuclear deal,” Kamalvandi told the Young Journalists’ Club (YJC) in an interview.

“And when he gives the order we will announce the programs for operating outside of the nuclear deal for reviving Fordow,” he added.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the AEOI, announced last week that Iran had begun work on a facility to construct advanced centrifuges at Natanz.

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The announcement appeared at least in part to be an effort to pressure the remaining signatories to preserve the 2015 deal.

Kamalvandi accused the United States and other Western countries of applying double standards by opposing Iran’s nuclear program, which he said was purely peaceful, while accepting the nuclear arms program of Tehran’s foe Israel.

“The West doesn’t criticize the Zionist regime and have even helped them,” the YJC quoted Kamalvandi as saying. “Without the help of the West and America this regime could never have obtained nuclear weapons.”

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Israel is widely believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear power. Israel has never confirmed or denied that it has a nuclear arsenal.

Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Gareth Jones

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Trump threatens 25 percent tariffs on European cars if he can’t ink a new EU trade deal

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US President Donald Trump relaunched a major trade offensive against Europe on Wednesday, threatening to hit the EU with damaging auto tariffs if Europeans failed to agree a long-delayed trade deal.

"The European Union is tougher to deal with than anybody. They've taken advantage of our country for many years." Trump told Fox Business News on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"Ultimately, it will be very easy because if we can't make a deal, we'll have to put 25 percent tariffs on their cars," he added.

Trump added that his attention would now to turn to Europe, after he sealed a trade truce with China after several years of a trade war that destabilised the world economy.

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Why teen depression rates are rising faster for girls than boys

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We’re in the middle of a teen mental health crisis – and girls are at its epicenter.

Since 2010, depression, self-harm and suicide rates have increased among teen boys. But rates of major depression among teen girls in the U.S. increased even more – from 12% in 2011 to 20% in 2017. In 2015, three times as many 10- to 14-year-old girls were admitted to the emergency room after deliberately harming themselves than in 2010. Meanwhile, the suicide rate for adolescent girls has doubled since 2007.

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Get ready for Enron II: Republicans are re-opening the energy market to underhanded dealing

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Neil Chatterjee, head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is taking our nation back to pre-Enron days when the commission was so weak it didn’t even explicitly prohibit manipulating energy markets.

Under Chatterjee, a former Mitch McConnell aide, the number of new investigations was halved – to 12 – in fiscal 2019, compared with the previous year. The commission reached just two settlement agreements for $14 million, a sixth or less of the annual average for penalties since 2007.

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