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Mike Pompeo complains about Iran’s behavior — after Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday slammed Tehran’s treatment of an inspector with the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency last week as “an outrageous and unwarranted act of intimidation.”

The top US diplomat said Iran “detained” the inspector, who the International Atomic Energy Agency has said had been briefly prevented from leaving Iran.

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Iran said Thursday it had cancelled the inspector’s accreditation after she triggered an alarm last week at the entrance to the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.

The alarm during a check at the entrance to the plant in central Iran had raised concerns that she could be carrying a “suspect product” on her, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said in a statement posted online.

As a result, she was denied entry, it added, without specifying whether or not anything had been found in her possession.

Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA Kazem Gharib Abadi told reporters after a special agency meeting in Vienna that after setting off the alarms on October 28, the woman “sneaked out” to the bathroom while waiting for a more thorough inspection with a detector that can find a range of explosive materials.

After her return, the alarms did not go off again, but authorities found contamination in the bathroom and later on her empty handbag during a house search.

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Iran said IAEA officials were present for all the searches.

The IAEA has not publicly commented on the incident with the inspector so far.

“The United States fully supports the IAEA’s monitoring and verification activities in Iran, and we are alarmed at Iran’s lack of adequate cooperation,” Pompeo said in a statement.

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“IAEA inspectors must be allowed to conduct their critical work unimpeded. We call on Iran to immediately resolve all open issues with the IAEA and to afford Agency inspectors the privileges and immunities to which they are entitled.”

Iran has been progressively scaling back its commitments under a landmark 2015 deal aimed at reining in Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

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The US left the agreement last year and re-imposed sanctions, leaving remaining world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — trying to save the agreement and mitigate the sanctions.


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2020 Election

Masks take center stage in presidential race as Biden slams Trump for ‘costing people’s lives’

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In an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden laid into President Donald Trump for his comments belittling his decision to wear a mask at the Memorial Day events at the beginning of the week.

"He's a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way," said Biden. He added that "This macho stuff ... It's costing people's lives."

Trump has frequently refused to don a mask while speaking to the media, even when he is in public places where masks are required.

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“He’s a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way,” Biden to @DanaBashCNN about Trump belittling his wearing of a mask. “This macho stuff ... It’s costing people’s lives.”

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Trump says he can ‘absolutely’ force governors to reopen churches if he decides to do so

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At Tuesday's coronavirus press briefing, President Donald Trump was pressed on whether he really has the authority to force governors to allow houses of worship to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. "Can you explain what authority you had in mind when you said that you would do that?" asked a reporter.

The president emphasized that he does have the power — but did not elaborate on how specifically he would do so, and added that he doesn't think he will have to.

"I can absolutely do it if I want to," said Trump. "I don't think I'm going to have to, because it's starting to open up. We need our churches and our synagogues and our mosques. We want them open, churches, synagogues, mosques, and other — we want them open and we want them open as soon as possible."

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Trump continues pushing conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough — immediately after reporter tells him about widower begging him to stop

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At Tuesday's White House press briefing, President Donald Trump was asked by reporters if he was aware of the letter from the widower of deceased congressional aide Lori Klausutis, begging the president to stop promoting conspiracy theories that she had been murdered by former representative and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.

The president replied, "Yeah I have." However, almost immediately after, he used the moment to continue pushing the conspiracy theory, adding, "As you know, there's no statute of limitations."

Asked if he's seen the distressed letter from the widower of Lori Klausutis about Trump turning her death into fodder, Trump says "yeah I have," then continues propagating his conspiracy nonsense, then says, "As you know, there's no statute of limitations."

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