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UN’s top court says it can hear case brought by Iran against US


The United Nations’ highest court has ruled that it can hear a case brought by Iran against the United States in a bid to end sanctions the Trump administration reimposed in 2018 after pulling out of an international deal aimed at curtailing Tehran’s nuclear programme.


A majority of a panel of 16 judges on Wednesday found that the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the world court, has jurisdiction in the dispute.


Lawyers for the US argued at hearings last year that the case should be thrown out by the ICJ for lack of jurisdiction and admissibility but the court’s president, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, said that judges rejected US arguments that Iran could not base claims at the ICJ on a 1955 bilateral friendship pact.


Judges found the treaty, signed decades before Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution and the sharp deterioration of ties with the US, could be used as a basis for the court’s jurisdiction.


“The court unanimously rejects the preliminary objections to its jurisdiction raised by the United States of America according to which the subject matter of the dispute does not relate to the interpretation or application of the Treaty of Amity,” Yusuf said.


Other US objections to the case were also dismissed, meaning Iran’s claim will now move on to a hearing on its merits.


A final decision is likely to take several years.


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U.S. must lift sanctions before Iran lives up to nuke deal, supreme leader says


Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday urged the United States to lift all sanctions if it wants Iran to live up to commitments under its nuclear deal with world powers, state TV reported, his first comments on the matter since U.S. President Joe Biden took office.


“If (the U.S.) wants Iran to return to its commitments, it must lift all sanctions in practice, then we will do verification … then we will return to our commitments,” state TV quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying.


Former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. in 2018 from the atomic deal, which saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Biden has said he will seek to revive the deal, but insisted that Iran must first reverse its nuclear steps, creating a contest of wills between the nations.


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European, US diplomats to discuss reviving 2015 Iran deal


Top diplomats from European powers and the United States will hold talks to see how to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, days ahead of a deadline set by Tehran that could hinder these efforts.


French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will host his German and British counterparts in Paris on Thursday, with new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken joining via videoconference, the French foreign ministry said on Wednesday.


Meanwhile, Iran plans to restrict some UN nuclear agency inspections if the US does not lift its sanctions – imposed since 2018 by former President Donald Trump – by February 21, under the terms of a bill adopted by its parliament in December.


Highlighting the tough path ahead, German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced “concern” that Iran was failing to meet its obligations in telephone talks with President Hassan Rouhani, her spokesman said in a statement.


Analysts have said only a small window of opportunity remains to save the landmark deal, which received a near-fatal blow when Trump walked out in 2018.


The administration of current US President Joe Biden has said it is prepared to rejoin the deal and start lifting sanctions if Iran returns to full compliance, a precondition disputed by Tehran.


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‘Suspicious’ blackout strikes Iran’s Natanz nuclear site


Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear facility lost power Sunday just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium faster, the latest incident to strike the site amid negotiations over the tattered atomic accord with world powers.


As Iranian officials investigated the outage, many Israeli media outlets offered the same assessment that a cyberattack darkened Natanz and damaged a facility that is home to sensitive centrifuges. While the reports offered no sourcing for the evaluation, Israeli media maintains a close relationship with the country’s military and intelligence agencies.


If Israel caused the blackout, it further heightens tensions between the two nations, already engaged in a shadow conflict across the wider Middle East.


It also complicates efforts by the U.S., Israel’s main security partner, to re-enter the atomic accord aimed at limiting Tehran’s program so it can’t pursue a nuclear weapon. As news of the blackout emerged, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin landed Sunday in Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.


Power at Natanz was cut across the facility, which is comprised of above-ground workshops and underground enrichment halls, civilian nuclear program spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told Iranian state television.


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8 hours ago, Larry said:

You'd think that place would have battery backup by now.  Days worth.  

it depends on how the power was cut. The could have hacked into its onsite distribution network.... batteries or generators wouldn’t have gotten a single go switch on.  Could have even tricked safety systems kick on to kill power. 



Everything is software driven nowadays... if one hacker was able to simultaneously gain control of America’s amazon and google devices, just cycling on and off the power of all the connected devices (smart bulbs, thermostat, ect) would be enough to knock out large parts of the power infrastructure.



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