US Defense Secretary Resumes Duty after Undergoing Procedure at Walter Reed

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stands during the playing of the national anthem of Kenya during a visit by Kenya's President William Ruto to the Pentagon in Washington, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stands during the playing of the national anthem of Kenya during a visit by Kenya's President William Ruto to the Pentagon in Washington, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
TT

US Defense Secretary Resumes Duty after Undergoing Procedure at Walter Reed

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stands during the playing of the national anthem of Kenya during a visit by Kenya's President William Ruto to the Pentagon in Washington, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stands during the playing of the national anthem of Kenya during a visit by Kenya's President William Ruto to the Pentagon in Washington, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin underwent a medical procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Friday evening and has resumed duty after temporarily transferring power to his deputy, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement.
Austin is continuing to deal with bladder issues that arose in December following his treatment for prostate cancer, Ryder said.
The procedure was successful, elective and minimally invasive, “is not related to his cancer diagnosis and has had no effect on his excellent cancer prognosis,” the press secretary said.
Austin transferred authority to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks for about two-and-a-half hours while he was indisposed, the Pentagon said.
The Pentagon chief returned home after the procedure. “No changes in his official schedule are anticipated at this time, to include his participation in scheduled Memorial Day events,” The Associated Press quoted Ryder as saying.
Austin, 70, has had ongoing health issues since undergoing surgery to address a prostate cancer diagnosis. He spent two weeks in the hospital following complications from a prostatectomy. Austin faced criticism at the time for not immediately informing the president or Congress of either his diagnosis or hospitalization.
Austin was taken back to Walter Reed in February for a bladder issue, admitted to intensive care for a second time and underwent a non-surgical procedure under general anesthesia at the time.
The Pentagon has notified the White House and Congress, Ryder said.



US Will Raise Pressure on Iran If It Does Not Cooperate with UN Watchdog

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller (AP)
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller (AP)
TT

US Will Raise Pressure on Iran If It Does Not Cooperate with UN Watchdog

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller (AP)
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller (AP)

The US State Department said Washington will continue to increase pressure on Iran if it does not cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog.
In return, an Iranian official said his country will not bow to pressure.
“The report issued by the IAEA makes clear that Iran aims to continue expanding its nuclear program in ways that have no credible peaceful purpose,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said. “If Iran implements these plans, we will respond accordingly.”
Shamkhani Responds
Responding to the US position, Ali Shamkhani, the advisor of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, wrote on the social platform X that Tehran remains committed to nuclear safeguards though it “won’t bow to pressure.”
He added, “The US and some Western countries would dismantle Iran’s nuclear industry if they could.”
Iran is threatening to take action following a vote earlier this month at the IAEA’s Board of Governors that censured it for failing to cooperate fully with the agency.
Last week, the IAEA informed its member states in a confidential report that Iran has activated additional high-performance centrifuges to enrich uranium.
Hours later, the US threatened to respond to Iran if it further accelerates its uranium enrichment.
Less-Than-Expected Escalation
Reuters quoted diplomats as saying Iran is responding to last week's UN nuclear watchdog board resolution against it by expanding its uranium-enrichment capacity at two underground sites, but the escalation is not as big as many had feared.
According to the IAEA report, around 350 of the new machines were already installed in an underground facility in Fordow, 32 kilometers northeast of the Iranian city of Qom. Another 350 units are in the works, the agency said.
On June 5, the IAEA passed a resolution calling for Tehran to cooperate with its inspectors after years of stalling in order to clarify unanswered questions about suspected secret nuclear activities in the past.
Germany, France and Britain have indirectly threatened to call in the UN Security Council if Iran failed to provide answers.
In turn, Iran's government threatened to meet the resolution with a “proportionate, effective and immediate response.”