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Iran to Top Agenda at IAEA Emergency Meeting

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7 Nov 2019
Iran to Top Agenda at IAEA Emergency Meeting
The crisis over Iran’s renegade nuclear program intensified this week with a meeting scheduled for Thursday of officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to address the Islamic Republic’s latest violations of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement. The meeting will also discuss Iranian accusations that three of its oil tankers were attacked recently in the Red Sea, which include broad hints that it holds the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia responsible for those alleged strikes. Also set to be discussed in the meeting is a recent incident in which a female IAEA official was detained by Iranian security officers while attempting to carry out an inspection of an Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz.

"There is a real concern that it will harm how (the IAEA) carry out their inspections in the future," a European diplomat said. "The agency wants to show how seriously they are taking this. It is a potentially damaging precedent," added another Western official.

There is speculation that the meeting might also include discussions of a failure by Iran to explain the discovery of nuclear materials at the Turquzabad site, which was exposed by Israel in 2018 and confirmed by the IAEA in February of 2019.

Here is a video with some analysis of the situation

Jordanian Official Warns of Economic Collapse
A senior Jordanian official warned this week that the 1.3 million refugees currently living in Jordan after fleeing the civil war in Syria are straining the government’s budget to the breaking point. Issam Al-Majali, spokesperson for Jordan’s Planning Ministry, told The Media Line that the situation “caused a huge increase in governmental expenses between the years 2011 and 2018 due to the costs involved in responding to the refugees’ needs.”

“Unemployment among Jordanians increased from 12% in 2012 to 19% in the first quarter of 2019, while the poverty level rose from 14.4% in 2010 to 20% by the end of 2016,” he added. “Despite support for the Jordanian government from the international community in response to the refugees, their presence has cost Jordan about $1.4 billion.”

Demonstrations Continue in Lebanon and Iraq
Street demonstrations against the ruling establishment in Lebanon continued on Wednesday, with school children leading some of the demonstrations in Beirut, Tyre, Sidon and other major cities. In neighboring Iraq, security forces again used live ammunition against demonstrators in Baghdad on Wednesday, adding to a death toll from nearly three weeks of protests which currently stands at 280. Despite the violence, protests in both countries show no signs of abating, with protesters telling Western media outlets covering the demonstrations that they’re unable to continue living as they have and they don’t feel like they’ve got anything lest to lose.

Here's a video giving some further context to this story

UNRWA Leader Resigns Amidst Scandal
Following the resignation of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) commissioner-general, Pierre Krähenbühl on Wednesday amidst allegations of ethical misconduct, Israeli officials called for the organization to be disbanded. This “is a victory in the campaign against the politicization and incitement against Israel that is at the root of the agency [UNRWA],” Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said. “Compounding this, numerous accusations regarding the agency’s conduct signals to the international community that there is no other solution for UNRWA besides its total closure, and it is time to consider alternative models for the refugee issue.”

Foreign Minister Israel Katz said, “UNRWA’s conduct illustrates that the agency is part of the problem and not part of the solution. The agency perpetuates the refugee issue in a political manner, and in doing so distances any possibility for a future resolution. The international community needs to find a new model that will provide humanitarian assistance to those who truly need it, and must remove from the agenda the futile idea of the return of the refugees.”

Today's video shows how one Israeli soldier spends his free time