Iranian drone factory explodes days after Israel accuses Hamas

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A factory that makes Iranian drones suffered a major explosion days after Israel claimed Iran was providing drones to Hamas in Gaza.

The weekend explosion injured at least nine workers at the Isfahan petrochemical plant. The Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (Hesa), which produces a variety of planes and drones for Iranian and pro-Iranian forces, is located in the complex owned by Sepahan Nargostar Chemical Industries.

Iran has not provided information on the cause of the incident, but Israel has shown no qualms in the past in taking what it sees as retaliation inside Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday showed the remains of what he described as an Iranian drone that was shot down Tuesday after crossing Iraqi or Syrian airspace.

Conflicting reports have emerged over whether Iranian officials have extended a deal that gives UN nuclear inspectors access to Iranian nuclear sites for an additional month.

The extension is essential to give negotiators in Vienna time to complete talks on reviving the broader nuclear deal between the United States and Iran. The inspector’s technical agreement was reportedly extended for another month, but this was contradicted by Iranian extremists.

The head of the UN nuclear inspectorate, General Rafael Grossi, delayed a press conference Sunday where he was to unveil the extension, suggesting that problems remain with the conditions set by Iran.

A previous three-month deal expired over the weekend and without an extension, the broader negotiations to bring the United States back into the nuclear deal would either be suspended indefinitely or ended.

The extension would be highly controversial in Iran, with extremists fighting to win the Iranian presidency in next month’s election and determined to show resistance to any compromise with the United States.

Tehran’s initial three-month surveillance agreement and the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, gave the inspectorate limited access to images of Iranian nuclear sites. The deal was negotiated by Grossi after Iran’s parliament withdrew from a long-term deal that gave inspectors near-unlimited access to Iran’s nuclear sites.

Iran has steadily reduced its compliance with the nuclear deal, saying its measures were justified as a response to the full U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 deal in 2018.

A one-month extension would give the United States, Iran and the other five signatories to the agreement leeway to try to strike a deal on how the United States will lift sanctions on Iran and return to the agreement, in turn restoring full respect for the agreement by Iran. The talks are set to enter what is expected to be their decisive fifth round this week, with both sides warning that large gaps remain.

If there is no extension, Iran has said it could delete video recordings from its sites compiled over the past three months, leaving the IAEA without information on Iran’s nuclear sites.

A sign of the tensions in Iran around the extension, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, speaker of parliament and supporter of the hard line, declared: “From May 22 and with the end of the three-month agreement, the agency n ‘will no longer have access to the data collected. by cameras inside nuclear facilities agreed under the agreement. “

He gave the impression that an irrevocable decision was made on Saturday and was backed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Yesterday it was discussed and the decision was made,” Qalibaf said. “The law passed by parliament will be implemented. The Supreme Leader also stressed the importance of implementing the law. ”

But other unnamed officials said Iran was ready for a one-month conditional extension.

Outgoing President Hassan Rouhani personally invested in the strategic decision to sign the nuclear deal, said the Vienna talks were going well and said the United States had agreed to lift a panoply of sanctions.

Russian Ambassador to the Vienna talks Mikhail Ulyanov said: “If [this news] is true, it is a positive and necessary step.

Iranian lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in December in favor of the task of tasking the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to produce and store at least 120 kilograms of enriched uranium with a level of 20% purity each year and increase the enrichment beyond 20%, depending on the country. Needs. All of these stipulations violate Iran’s obligations under the nuclear deal.

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