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Iran White House Accusation rejected by Tehran

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Reuters – Iran rejects white house accusation on Tuesday. A White House accusation that Tehran was long violating the terms of its nuclear deal with world powers.

“Seriously?” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a message on social network Twitter, after a statement by White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham that said, “There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

Tehran’s announcement drew a warning from President Donald Trump that Tehran was “playing with fire.”

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported that the country’s enriched uranium stockpile has now passed the 300-kg(661 lb) limit allowed under the deal.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors Iran’s nuclear program under the deal, confirmed in Vienna that Tehran had breached the limit hence iran’s white house accusation.

Trump, asked if he had a message for Iran, said, “No message to Iran. They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re playing with, and I think they’re playing with fire. So, no message to Iran whatsoever.”

European powers, which remain party to the accord and have tried to keep it in place, urged Iran not to take further steps that would violate it.

European powers, which remain party to the accord and have tried to keep it in place, urged Iran not to take further steps that would violate it. But they held off on declaring the agreement void or announcing sanctions of their own.

Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the White House charge was “illogical”.

He pointed out that at the time the nuclear deal was concluded, Tehran and the IAEA agreed on a “roadmap” through which Iran is addressing the nuclear watchdog’s unanswered questions about the nuclear weapons research program that the IAEA and the U.S. intelligence community assessed ended in 2003.

“The process is still underway,” he said.

He also said there was no international standard prohibiting Iran from enriching uranium, as asserted by Pompeo. “That is not the case. That is an American position,” he said.

Iran announced on Monday that it breached the deal’s restriction on storing more than 300 kg (661 lb) of low-enriched uranium. Kimball said the issue would be adjudicated through the accord’s dispute resolution mechanism.

It was the United States, he said, that first violated the deal when Trump withdrew from it. This was while Iran still was in compliance and then re-imposed harsh U.S. sanctions suspended by the nuclear agreement.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Israel election: Netanyahu, Gantz battle too close

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Israel’s election was too close to call on Wednesday, with a partial vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival, former military chief Benny Gantz.

An official result was still hours, perhaps days off. But with more than 63 percent of votes counted, theis  Netanyahu-led right-wing bloc was, as expected, more or less even with Gantz’s center-left.

With no single-party majority in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament, there will likely be weeks of coalition talks before a new government is formed.

The ballot’s wildcard, former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, emerged as a likely kingmaker as head of the secular-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

Lieberman has been pushing for a unity government comprised of the biggest parties. He declined to back Netanyahu’s bid to form a narrow right-wing and religious coalition after an April election, bringing about Tuesday’s unprecedented repeat vote.

Addressing Likud party faithful, Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving premier, sipped water frequently and spoke hoarsely. He made no claim of victory or concession of defeat, saying he would await final results.

His dead-of-night appearance was a far cry from his triumphant – and in the end premature – declaration five months ago that he had won a close election.

Gantz was more upbeat, telling a rally of his Blue and White party that it appeared “we fulfilled our mission”, and he pledged to work toward forming of a unity government.

Reuters

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24 Hours Across Africa

Inflation rate falls to 1.7%

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 The office for National statistics says the consumer price index is 1.7%-down from 2.1% – in August

Head of inflation at ONS Mike Hardie said: “The inflation rate has fallen noticeably into August, to its lowest since late 2016. This was mainly driven by a decrease in computer game prices, plus clothing prices rising by less than year after the end of the summer sales.

“Annual growth in house prices slowed to its lowest rate since September 2012, with four of the nine English regions now seeing prices falling over the year”.

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