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Iran asked U.S. to unfreeze $10 billion to show good will, Iran official says

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(Last Updated On: October 3, 2021)

Iran’s foreign minister said on Saturday that U.S. officials tried to discuss restarting nuclear talks last month, but he insisted Washington must first release $10 billion of Tehran’s frozen funds as a sign of good will, Reuters reported.

Iran has rejected direct talks with the United States, and indirect talks on reviving a 2015 nuclear accord aimed at keeping Iran from being able to develop a nuclear weapon stopped in June.

According to the report the United States used intermediaries at the United Nations last month to attempt to make contact, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told state television.

Iran has been unable to obtain tens of billions of dollars of its assets in foreign banks, mainly from exports of oil and gas, due to U.S. sanctions on its banking and energy sectors.

“The Americans tried to contact us through different channels (at the U.N. General Assembly) in New York, and I told the mediators if America’s intentions are serious then a serious indication was needed … by releasing at least $10 billion of blocked money,” the minister said.

“They are not willing to free $10 billion belonging to the Iranian nation so that we can say that the Americans once in the past several decades considered the interests of the Iranian nation,” Amirabdollahian said in the TV interview.

Western powers have urged Iran to return to negotiations and said time is running out as Tehran’s nuclear programme is advancing well beyond the limits set by the deal, read the report.

Amirabdollahian reiterated that Iran would “soon” return to the stalled nuclear talks in Vienna, declining to give a date.

Tehran says its nuclear steps are reversible if Washington lifts all sanctions. Iranian and Western officials have said many issues remain to be resolved before the accord can be revived, Reuters said.

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Iran nuclear talks resume in Vienna

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

Talks between Tehran and world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal have resumed in Vienna, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported on Monday.

“The new round of the Joint Commission has started at the Palais Coburg in Vienna,” IRNA reported.

The Commission comprises Russia, China, Germany, Britain, France and Iran, signatories to the nuclear deal that the United States abandoned three years ago.

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Woman arrested after setting fire to Australian quarantine hotel room

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

Australian police are expecting to charge a woman with arson after she set fire to a quarantine hotel facility in Cairns, Queensland, with her two children inside on Sunday.

No one was injured in the fire but over 100 people needed to be evacuated after the 31-year-old mother was alleged to have started the fire in her room.

Video obtained by Reuters showed black smoke billowing out of a rooftop hotel room as fire ladders were extended to put out the fire.

“There was a smell like burnt plastic,” Sarah Orton, a resident of Toowoomba in Queensland, told Reuters.

“Police were very quick to arrive on scene and cordon off the area.”

“The 31-year-old female had been in quarantine for a couple of days and we did have some issues with that female occupant that we were managing,” acting chief superintendent, Chris Hodgman told reporters in Cairns.

Hodgman added that the woman’s two children were being cared for by police.

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Death toll in Russian mine tragedy jumps past 50

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2021)

A gas leak in a Siberian coal mine killed at least 52 people on Thursday, Russian news agencies said, including six rescuers who were sent down to try to bring out dozens of men in what was one of Russia’s worst mining disasters since Soviet times, Reuters reported.

The regional Investigative Committee said three people, including the director of the Listvyazhnaya mine and his deputy, had been arrested on suspicion of violating industrial safety rules.

It said miners had suffocated when a ventilation shaft became filled with gas. State television said prosecutors believed there had been a methane explosion.

According to the report the dead comprised 11 miners already confirmed killed, 35 who had been reported missing, and the six rescue workers.

Dozens of people were treated in hospital, at least some of them for smoke inhalation. Four were in critical condition.

The coal-producing region of Kemerovo, roughly 3,500 km (2,200 miles) east of Moscow, has suffered fatal mining accidents for years.

The Listvyazhnaya mine is part of SDS-Holding, owned by the privately held Siberian Business Union. The owner had no immediate comment, read the report.

Some 285 people were inside the mine when smoke spread through the ventilation shaft, the Emergencies Ministry said. Authorities said 239 had made it to the surface.

President Vladimir Putin said he had spoken with the governor and emergency officials, and the Kremlin said he had ordered the emergencies minister to fly to the region to help, Reuters reported.

Kemerovo declared three days of mourning.

In 2007, the region was the site of the worst mining accident since the collapse of the Soviet Union when an explosion at the Ulyanovskaya mine claimed the lives of more than 100 people. In 2010, explosions at the region’s Raspadskaya mine killed more than 90 people.

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