France Urges Iran to Curb Nuclear Activity, Resume Talks

Iran’s nuclear activity includes enriching uranium which Western nations fear could be used to build an atomic bomb - AFP
Iran’s nuclear activity includes enriching uranium which Western nations fear could be used to build an atomic bomb - AFP
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France Urges Iran to Curb Nuclear Activity, Resume Talks

Iran’s nuclear activity includes enriching uranium which Western nations fear could be used to build an atomic bomb - AFP
Iran’s nuclear activity includes enriching uranium which Western nations fear could be used to build an atomic bomb - AFP

France on Friday urged Iran to curb nuclear activities of “unprecedented gravity” as US and European envoys met to discuss efforts aimed at reviving the troubled 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

US envoy Robert Malley joined counterparts from France, Britain and Germany at the meetings in Paris, at what the French Foreign Ministry called a “critical time” in efforts to salvage the accord.

“It is urgent and crucial for Iran to end the activities of unprecedented gravity that it is conducting in violation of the (agreement) and to immediately resume full-fledged cooperation” with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anne-Claire Legendre said in an online briefing.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters the US and its partners are “united in the belief that diplomacy continues to provide the most effective pathway to verifiably and permanently preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

“And,” he said, “we are united in the belief that negotiations should resume in Vienna as soon as possible and that they should resume precisely where they left off in June.”

The IAEA is charged with monitoring the 2015 accord, which was aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear activity in exchange for the lifting of crippling sanctions. The US pulled out of the accord under Donald Trump and re-imposed sanctions.

Since then Iran has stepped up nuclear activity and is now in violation of several aspects of the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, AFP reported.

Iran’s nuclear activity includes enriching uranium which Western nations fear could be used to build an atomic bomb. Tehran denies any such ambitions.

The US and European partners are ready to return immediately to negotiations with Iran “in order to swiftly conclude an agreement on Iran’s return to its commitments and the United States’ return to the JCPOA,” Legendre said.

Iran’s new hardline government led by President Ebrahim Raisi, which took power in August, has hinted it will return to the nuclear talks in Vienna but has balked at setting a date.



California Academic Workers Strike in Support of Pro-Palestinian Protests

Students protesting at an encampment supporting Palestinians on the California University campus (EPA)
Students protesting at an encampment supporting Palestinians on the California University campus (EPA)
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California Academic Workers Strike in Support of Pro-Palestinian Protests

Students protesting at an encampment supporting Palestinians on the California University campus (EPA)
Students protesting at an encampment supporting Palestinians on the California University campus (EPA)

Discord from last month's mob attack on pro-Palestinian student activists encamped at the University of California, Los Angeles, flared again on Tuesday as academic workers staged a strike on campus protesting UCLA's response to the violence, Reuters said.
Unionized academic researchers, graduate teaching assistants and post-doctoral scholars at UCLA walked off the job over what they regard as unfair labor practices in the university's handling of pro-Palestinian demonstrations in recent weeks, organizers said.
They were joined by fellow academic workers at two other University of California campuses - UC Davis near Sacramento, and UC Santa Cruz, where the protest strike began on May 20.
The strikers are demanding amnesty for grad students and other academic workers who were arrested or face discipline for their involvement in the protests, which union leaders say were peaceful except when counter-demonstrators and other instigators were allowed to provoke unrest.
The state Public Employee Relations Board ordered the University of California and the strikers to take part in mediated talks. A representative for the strikers said the parties met once over the weekend.
The strike was organized by the United Auto Workers union Local 4811, which represents some 48,000 non-tenured academic employees total across 10 University of California campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The UAW local includes about 6,400 academic workers at UCLA, 5,700 at Davis and about 2,000 at Santa Cruz. A union representative said thousands were withholding their work as of Monday. Several hundred attended a march and midday rally on the UCLA campus on Tuesday.
The expanding work stoppage marks the first union-backed protest in solidarity with the recent wave of student-led demonstrations on dozens of US campuses against Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Union leaders said a major impetus for the strike was the arrest of 210 people, including campus-employed grad students, at the scene of a Palestinian solidarity protest camp torn down by police at UCLA on May 2.
About 24 hours earlier, on the night of April 30-May 1, masked assailants armed with sticks and clubs attacked the encampment and its occupants, sparking a bloody clash that went on for at least three hours before police moved in.
The university has since reassigned the chief of the campus police department and opened an investigation into law enforcement's reaction to the violence.
Last week, three weeks after the melee, campus police announced their first, and so far only, arrest of someone accused of taking part in the attack - a man they say was seen in video footage beating victims with a wooden pole.
Separately on Tuesday in Detroit, Wayne State University suspended in-person classes and directed staff to work remotely to avoid any disruptions that might be posed by a pro-Palestinian encampment there.
US Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat of Palestinian descent, joined those protests on Monday and Tuesday.