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Iran’s president urges Biden to return to 2015 nuclear deal

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2021)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged US President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday to return to a 2015 nuclear deal and lift crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Biden, who takes office on Wednesday, has said the United States will rejoin the pact that includes restrictions on Iran’s nuclear work if Tehran resumes strict compliance, Reuters reported.

Rouhani said on Wednesday in a televised cabinet meeting that “the ball is in the US court now. If Washington returns to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact.”

“Today, we expect the incoming US administration to return to the rule of law and commit themselves, and if they can, in the next four years, to remove all the black spots of the previous four years,” he said.

Tensions have grown between Tehran and Washington since 2018 when US President Donald Trump exited the deal between Iran and six world powers that sought to limit Tehran’s nuclear program and prevent it from developing atomic weapons. Washington reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

Iran, which denies ever seeking nuclear arms, retaliated to Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy by gradually breaching the accord. Tehran has repeatedly said it can quickly reverse those violations if US sanctions are removed.

Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for secretary of state, said at his Senate hearing on Tuesday that the Biden administration feels the world was safer with the nuclear deal in place.

“President-elect Biden is committed to the proposition that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon,” he said. 

“And we share, I know, that goal across this committee, an Iran with a nuclear weapon or on the threshold of having one with the capacity to build one on short order would be in Iran that is even more dangerous than it already is.”

Rouhani meanwhile stated on Wednesday that “US President Donald Trump’s political career is over today and his ‘maximum pressure’ policy on Iran has completely failed.” 

“Trump is dead but the nuclear deal is still alive,” Rouhani said. 

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Kabul residents come out en mass in support of security forces

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(Last Updated On: August 3, 2021)

Thousands of Kabul residents took to the streets of the city at 9pm on Tuesday night chanting slogans, including Allahu Akbar (God is Great), in support of the Afghan security forces who are battling the Taliban on multiple fronts across Afghanistan. 

In addition to chanting slogans, residents waved the country’s flag, showing support for the republic system and the government forces. 

Thousands more stood on the roofs of their houses and collectively raised their voices while others shouted out the windows of apartment blocks. 

Just one hour earlier, however, the city was rocked by a car bomb that exploded outside the acting defense minister, Bismillah Mohammadi’s house in Sherpur in the center of Kabul. 

But the explosion spurred people on to come out in their droves to show their support for the country’s troops – some of whom were still fighting militants who had stormed Mohammadi’s residence after the explosion. 

Nangarhar residents also joined in and took to the streets in Jalalabad on Tuesday night, while Herat residents started the movement on Monday night. 

The show of support comes a day after President Ashraf Ghani addressed a joint session of the upper and lower houses of parliament, the Meshrano Jirga and the Wolesi Jirga, on Monday and called on MPs and Senators to use their influence to mobilize the country to stand by the security forces. 

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Car bomb detonated outside acting defense minister’s home in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: August 3, 2021)

Militants targeted the acting minister of defense, Bismillah Mohammadi’s house in the center of Kabul on Tuesday evening after detonating an explosives-laden car. 

The explosion in Sherpur area, in PD10, ripped through the city at about 8pm.

According to officials, after the explosion, assailants stormed Mohammadi’s house. They said Mohammadi was safe but there were casualties among his bodyguards. 

However, details have not yet been released. 

Meanwhile, sources told Ariana News that at least ten people were wounded in the explosion and had been taken to hospital. 

Security forces have been deployed in the area and are reportedly still engaged in a gun battle with the assailants.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Former vice-president Younus Qanuni meanwhile said in a voice message that Mohammadi was not at home at the time of the attack and “his family members were evacuated from the attack scene.”

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Govt rolls out curfew in 31 provinces to curb Taliban activities

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(Last Updated On: July 24, 2021)

The Afghan government announced Saturday it has imposed a curfew in 31 provinces around the country in a bid to curb Taliban activity.

According to the Ministry of Interior’s deputy spokesman Ahmad Zia Zia, the curfew will come into effect immediately and will be enforced from 10pm to 4am. 

Kabul, Nangarhar and Panjshir provinces are the only three that have been exempt. 

“Based on the security [situation] officials announced a curfew in 31 provinces; the decision was taken to prevent Taliban activities,” said Zia.

Meanwhile, residents of Kapisa province said that a number of families have been displaced due to clashes between Afghan forces and Taliban in Nijrab, Alasay and Tagab districts.

“Due to the war between ANDSF and Taliban in Nijrab, Alasay and Tagab districts, many of the residents of the districts have been displaced. We want to know what government intends to do about this,” said Shamila Mashal, a civil society activist.

In addition to these districts, heavy clashes have been ongoing between ANDSF and Taliban in Ghazni, Wardak, Takhar, Kunduz, Kunar, Laghman, Herat, Helmand and Nimruz provinces.

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