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giovedì 21 settembre 2017

Police shut part of a busy main road near Middlesbrough on Thursday following reports of a severed hand found on the ground. Officers rushed to the scene, sealing off the A19, only to discover the hand was a fake.....

‘A terror-wrist!’ Sightings of ‘severed hand’ shut major UK road


Police shut part of a busy main road near Middlesbrough on Thursday following reports of a severed hand found on the ground.
Officers rushed to the scene, sealing off the A19, only to discover the hand was a fake.
The seemingly gruesome discovery on the northbound carriageway between Portrack and Norton slip roads was made by a member of the public, who alerted police immediately.
Cleveland and Durham Road Policing Unit said the ‘hand’ was in fact a prop.
"In a nutshell, an eagle-eyed diligent member of the motoring public spotted a suspicious looking item in the central reservation," they said in a Facebook post.
“Officers have attended and it has been found to be a realistic-looking ‘severed hand.’
“No doubt comments will be forthcoming - please!.....”
Then, the jokes rolled in.
“It is a terror wrist,” quipped one commenter.
“Single handedly closed the A19?” another said.
This isn’t the first time British police have been fooled by fancy dress.
Last year flashing blue lights rushed along the M62 between Manchester and Liverpool over reports of a serious assault.
What they discovered was a pair of extras, dressed as zombies, on their way to an acting job.

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Police in Myanmar were forced to fire warning shots to disperse an armed crowd that attempted to prevent a shipment of aid from reaching displaced Rohingya Muslims in the northern state of Rakhine....


Myanmar protesters block aid shipment to Rohingya Muslims


Police in Myanmar were forced to fire warning shots to disperse an armed crowd that attempted to prevent a shipment of aid from reaching displaced Rohingya Muslims in the northern state of Rakhine.
Hundreds of protesters attempted to prevent humanitarian workers from loading 50 tons (metric) of aid onto a boat in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state, Wednesday evening.

Almost 200 police were called in to contain the crowd who were armed with sticks, metal bars and petrol bombs which they threw at police. Eight people were arrested in the clashes, reports ABC News citing the Myanmar government.

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'Clear & systematic pattern of abuse': Amnesty International releases satellite images of  ethnic cleansing https://on.rt.com/8nc5 
More than 400,000 people have been displaced by violence in northern Myanmar which began after insurgent attacks on August 25 sparked a military backlash. Around 400 people, mostly insurgents, have been killed so far in the fighting.
There has been widespread condemnation of the Myanmar military and government amid accusations of crimes against humanity, including ethnic cleansing.
"There has been much concern around the world with regard to the situation in Rakhine. It is not the intention of the Myanmar government to apportion blame or to abnegate responsibility. We condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence," State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi said in a statement.
"I understand that many of our friends throughout the world are concerned by reports of villages being burnt and of hordes of refugees fleeing. As I said earlier, there have been no conflicts since September 5 and no clearance operations."
400k+ sign pro-Rohingya petition to strip  of Nobel Prize https://on.rt.com/8mkp 
“People thought the aid was only for the Bengalis,” secretary of the state government, Tin Maung Swe, told Reuters, using a pejorative term that Rohingya find offensive.
The Rakhine state denies the Rohingya citizenship, alleging they are instead illegal immigrants. It does not consider them one of the country’s officially designated national races. Roughly 40 percent of the Rohingya population living in Rakhine State has fled to Bangladesh since the recent outbreak of violence began.

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Moscow has warned the US that if militias it supports in northeast Syria again attack positions of pro-government forces backed by Russia, the Russian military will use all its force to retaliate....


Russia warns US it will strike back if militia attacks in Syria don’t end


Moscow has warned the US that if militias it supports in northeast Syria again attack positions of pro-government forces backed by Russia, the Russian military will use all its force to retaliate.
The troops of the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), a predominantly Kurdish militia that receives support from the US military, have twice attacked positions of the Syrian Arab Army in the Deir ez-Zor governorate with mortar and rocket fire, according to the Russian Defense Ministry's spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov.
“Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed,” Konashenkov said, adding that the attacks put at risk Russian military advisers embedded with Syrian government troops.
“Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary,” he stressed.
Konashenkov said Moscow suspected the SDF of colluding with the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL) in Deir ez-Zor rather than fighting it, as it claims to be. He said Russia had detected the transfer of SDF fighters from the IS stronghold of Raqqa, to join forces with the jihadists.
“SDF militants work to the same objectives as IS terrorists. Russian drones and intelligence have not recorded any confrontations between IS and the ‘third force,’ the SDF,” the Russian general said.
The statement said that the siege of Raqqa by the SDF has been halted, apparently in response to the latest advances by Syrian government forces in Deir ez-Zor, which is located to the east from Raqqa along the Euphrates River.
“The central parts of the former ISIL capital, which account for roughly 25 percent of the city, remain under full control of the terrorists,” Konashenkov remarked.
According to the statement, in the last 24 hours Syrian government troops “continued their offensive operation” to destroy the last “IS bridgehead” near the city of Deir ez-Zor, the provincial capital. Troops led by Syrian Army General Suheil al-Hassan liberated around 16 sq km of territory and two settlements on the western bank of the Euphrates River.
“More than 85 percent of Deir ez-Zor's territory is under the full control of Syrian troops. Over the next week the city will be liberated completely,” Konashenkov said.
The city of Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria was besieged by Islamic State in 2014. Syrian government forces lifted the blockade of the city in early September.
However, the liberation of Deir ez-Zor also triggered a confrontation between Syrian government forces and the US-backed SDF militants, the point of contention being control of Deir ez-Zor’s oil fields.
Following Damascus’s strategic victory, food, medicine and other essentials started to reach the city by convoy, where previously the inhabitants had to rely on air-drops.
The escalation of tension in eastern Syria is mirrored in the western Idlib governorate, where militant forces this week attacked Syrian positions in a designated de-escalation zone. The offensive threatened a unit of Russian military police, who were stationed in the area to monitor the ceasefire. Russia mounted an emergency rescue operation on Wednesday, in which three Russian special operations troops were injured. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the militants’ offensive had been instigated by US special services.

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Eight people – six of them black – have been shot dead by St. Louis cops this year, already more than in any full year in the past decade. Police say a spike in crime is to blame, while protesters point to the unnecessary use of guns by law enforcement...


‘We can’t use Tasers against guns’: Fatal St. Louis police shootings hit 10-yr high amid protests


Eight people – six of them black – have been shot dead by St. Louis cops this year, already more than in any full year in the past decade. Police say a spike in crime is to blame, while protesters point to the unnecessary use of guns by law enforcement.
“There is a rise in violence. Guns are easily accessible. We have open carry laws, and folks are out there carrying their guns,” Lt. Col. Rochelle Jones, who leads the city’s Force Investigation Unit, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “What do you do when someone pulls a gun on you? You can’t pull your Taser.”
Five people were killed by police shootings in 2016. In addition to the fatal shootings, seven more people were wounded this year, and an unknown number may have been shot at, but not hit. Police did not disclose the total number of shooting incidents to the media among the latest statistics.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) says that seven of the victims pulled a gun on a cop, and three of them fired their weapons first. The eighth person, Kenny Herring, a black woman, stabbed an officer before being gunned down.
The SLMPD says that almost all were engaged in serious illegal conduct. Davion Henderson, a 21-year-old black man, crashed an SUV he had stolen as police were tracking him with a helicopter, and then pointed a gun at a patrol that arrived on the scene. An off-duty police officer witnessed 33-year-old Chazz Brown, a black man, pull out a gun in a store. When the officer tried to stop him, Brown shot at him, and was killed by return fire.
Among the incidents is the controversial shooting of Isaiah ‘Vinny’ Hammett, a white man, who was killed in June after police said that he pulled an AK-47 on them, outside a house they say was filled with guns and marijuana, and rigged with surveillance cameras.
His family has staged a series of rallies in his support and says that the AK-47 was not working, and the other guns belonged to a sick grandfather the 21-year-old Hammett was looking after.
Much larger demonstrations have gripped the city due to an older case that concluded last week, in which a white officer, Jason Stockley, who has since left St. Louis, was acquitted of killing a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, in December 2011.
Since then, almost daily protests, some numbering hundreds, have targeted well-off areas of the city, as demonstrators, some holding ‘Black Lives Matter’ placards, have called for justice over the death of Smith, chanting “No justice, no profits!”
Police say that over 30 officers have been injured trying to contain the protests, which they have attempted to disperse on several occasions. Demonstrators say that the protests have been peaceful, and have accused police of firing what appeared to be rubber bullets following a protest on Sunday. The SLMPD says the projectiles were pepper-spray balls, and were unleashed in response to crowd violence.

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Officers confiscate weapons, guns, protective gear from a rioter. Suspect was taken into custody. 
Police union business manager Jeff Roorda said protesters “have declared war on the police,” after they sprayed graffiti on the police officers’ union building.

Police believe in ‘eye for an eye,’ say protesters

Against the background of public discontent, the SLMPD says that their violence is a result of an increase in firearms violations, with aggravated assault with guns up 16 percent in 2017. In both 2015 and 2016, 188 people were killed in the city, the highest two-year total in decades.
Jones told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that police cannot bring down the level of violence without help and better communication with the poor, mostly minority, communities where the incidents take place.
“We can’t do this alone,” Jones said. “We need to work with the community, not against the community.”
Phillip Duvall, one of the leaders of the anti-Stockley protests, says the police are misplacing the blame.
“It’s like saying, ‘We’ve got to be more violent to protect ourselves and we’re more justified in killing you because you’re out there with more weapons.’ That’s status quo, that’s not leadership. That’s eye for an eye,” he said when informed of the latest statistics. “The police say, ‘We’ve got to be more cautious,’ but this story tells me they’re not being too cautious.”

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Vladimir Putin may secretly be on the side of Elon Musk in their indirect debate over the threat posed by artificial intelligence (AI). As Arkady Volozh, the head of Yandex, pitched him on the technology’s potential, the Russian president inquired about when AI ‘will eat us’....

Putin seems unconvinced AI won’t ‘eat us’


Vladimir Putin may secretly be on the side of Elon Musk in their indirect debate over the threat posed by artificial intelligence (AI). As Arkady Volozh, the head of Yandex, pitched him on the technology’s potential, the Russian president inquired about when AI ‘will eat us’.
The question seemed to baffle the head of Russia’s biggest tech firm, who was giving Putin a tour on the company’s Moscow HQ on Thursday.
“I hope never”, he replied after taking a pause to gather his thoughts. “It’s not the first machine to be better than humans at something. An excavator digs better than we do with a shovel. But we don’t get eaten by excavators. A car moves faster than we do…”
But Putin seemed unconvinced. “They don’t think,” he remarked.
Volozh acknowledged that it was true and scrambled back to his speech on AI’s merits.
AI seems to have become a sort of fad in the Russian government lately. Putin, when asked earlier this month by a group of kids about who would rule the world in the future, said it will be whichever country manages to perfect artificial intelligence.
The remark was taken as an ominous sign by some people in the West while Elon Musk, an outspoken advocate of restricting AI development, warned competition between nations in this area may lead to World War III.
AI, or more precisely, self-learning algorithms, are at the core of modern tech firms like Yandex, Google or Facebook. An increasing number of online services rely on such algorithms including search engines, automated translation between languages, image enhancement and targeting of advertising – which of course pays for all of this.
As the technology matures, it is being adapted for ‘real world’ applications like self-driving cars or even the optimization of centuries-old manufacturing technology like metal casting, Volozh told Putin during the tour.
However there is concern that such algorithms and robots controlled by them would make millions of human employees redundant over the next couple of decades, creating a large force of disenfranchised people. A debate also rages over whether humans should entrust AI with tasks of an ethical nature, such as the use of lethal weapons.

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Despite Germany's unfounded fears that Moscow could meddle in its upcoming election, analysts say they “haven't seen any trace of the Russians.” Instead, they say there is evidence that America's far-right is trying to sway voters....

‘No trace of Russians’: US far-right aiming to influence German election, analysts say


Despite Germany's unfounded fears that Moscow could meddle in its upcoming election, analysts say they “haven't seen any trace of the Russians.” Instead, they say there is evidence that America's far-right is trying to sway voters.
“So far we have not been able to track down any specific Russian activity,” Simon Hegelich, a professor of political science data at the Technical University of Munich who has advised the German government about the threat of hacking and false information, told USA Today. 
According to Hegelich, America's so-called ‘Alt-right’ movement, a term which defines far-right ideology which includes racism and white nationalism, appears to be aiming to influence the German election.
“A lot of the stuff we are seeing in Germany can be linked to, or is at least inspired by, the ‘Alt-right’ movement in the US,” Hegelich said.
According to USA Today, analysts say right-wing groups are behind election-related materials being posted on YouTube, as well as message board sites such as 4chan and Reddit, and texting service Gab.ai.
An analysis of 300 million tweets over the past six months by Hegelich and his research colleagues found many online posts regarding the German election which included the hashtag #AltRight.
Many of those posts originate in the US, Hegelich said, while baselessly stating that some of the posts coming out of the US may be connected to Russia interference, but that such information is difficult to determine.
However, Sandro Gaycken, founder and director of the Berlin-based Digital Society Institute, also stressed there has been no evidence of Russian meddling.
“We haven't seen any trace of the Russians, just right-wingers,” Gaycken said.
Melissa Hooper, an expert on legal and civil society issues related to former Soviet Union countries, looked at the possibility of Russian meddling from a different angle, noting that if Moscow had any information on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that information would have been made public.
“If the Russians have any juicy information obtained on Merkel or anyone else they probably would have dumped it by now,” she said.

Accusations against Russia

Although the German election is still days away, government security officials have repeatedly called its legitimacy into question, claiming that Russia could influence it in a number of ways.
“We believe that Russia is capable of starting disinformation campaigns in connection with the elections to the Bundestag [the Lower House of the German parliament],” the head of the German state security agency (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, told Die Welt newspaper last month.
However, the paranoia had been taking place long before Maassen's August remarks. In July, the BfV released a report in which it “assumed that Russian state agencies are trying to influence parties, politicians and public opinion, with a particular eye to the 2017 parliamentary election.”
The report boldly blamed Russia for attacks on German political targets and accused the Kremlin of using internet trolls to sway public opinion and spread pro-Russian views. However, Maassen eventually admitted that there was no evidence that Moscow was responsible for recent hacking attacks in Germany.
Merkel herself also pointed the finger at Russia as early as November 2016.
“We already know that we have to deal with reports from Russia or also with cyberattacks from Russian sources or even with the reports from which we are confronted to some extent with false information,”Merkel said at the time.
She kept up her rhetoric later that month, once against stating that "cyberattacks, or hybrid conflicts as they are known in Russian doctrine, are now part of daily life and we must learn to cope with them.”
Despite the ongoing claims of the Russian government's alleged intent to influence Germany's election, Berlin officially admitted in December 2016 that it had no solid evidence of any such plan. That confession came after an MP filed an official request, asking the German government to reveal what evidence it had concerning the alleged interference.
The election will take place on Sunday, with Merkel favored to win a fourth term as chancellor, beating out rival Martin Schulz.
Russia has repeatedly denied accusations that it meddled in the US presidential election, or that it had any intention of doing so in the German election.
“We never interfere in the political life and political processes of other countries, and we would very much like it if nobody interfered in the political life of Russia, too,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a joint press conference with Merkel in May.

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President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that gives the US broad new powers to sanction individuals, companies and financial institutions that facilitate trade with North Korea...

New US executive order to target foreign banks doing business with North Korea – Trump


President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that gives the US broad new powers to sanction individuals, companies and financial institutions that facilitate trade with North Korea.
"I am announcing a new executive order to sign that significantly expands authorities to target individuals, companies, financial institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea,” Trump said.
"Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea's efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind," he told reporters.
The announcement by Trump was made ahead of a luncheon meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea on the UN sidelines.
Trump also said that China's Central Bank had ordered other Chinese banks to stop doing business with North Korea.
He said North Korea's textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing industries were among possible targets.
Trump said the measure would also disrupt other trade avenues for North Korea, the idea being to halt its nuclear weapons program. The president said "tolerance for this disgraceful practice must end now."
During the announcement on Thursday, Trump was asked by reporters if dialogue was still possible with Pyongyang, and he replied "Why not?"
The UN Security Council has already passed substantial economic sanctions against North Korea, including targeting shipments of oil and other fuel used in missile testing, after Pyongyang reportedly tested a hydrogen bomb.
Under the UN resolution passed on September 11, all oil imports are banned and international assets of the government and its leaders have been frozen. The resolution also banned North Korea from importing natural gas liquids and condensates. It also bans all textile exports and prohibits any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers – two key sources of hard currency for the country.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said those measures have "strangled their economic situation" but that it would "take a little bit of time" for the impact to be felt.
Haley said the Trump administration believes the new sanctions combined with previous measures would ban over 90 percent of North Korea’s exports reported in 2016.
Resolution 2371, passed in August 2017, banned all exports of coal, iron, lead, and seafood. It also imposed new restrictions on North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and prohibited any increase in the number of North Koreans working in foreign countries.

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Stefania Petyx è stata aggredita a colpi di bastone e secchi d’acqua mentre si trovava insieme alla sua troupe in corso Alberto Amedeo, a Palermo. L’inviata di Striscia si trovava lì per girare un servizio su una villa liberty di proprietà dell’ospedale Civico, dichiarata inagibile e, da poco più di un anno, occupata abusivamente....

Comunicato stampa di Striscia la notizia
 
STEFANIA PETYX 2STEFANIA PETYX 2
Stefania Petyx è stata aggredita a colpi di bastone e secchi d’acqua mentre si trovava insieme alla sua troupe in corso Alberto Amedeo, a Palermo. L’inviata di Striscia si trovava lì per girare un servizio su una villa liberty di proprietà dell’ospedale Civico, dichiarata inagibile e, da poco più di un anno, occupata abusivamente.

Al Tg satirico erano giunte delle segnalazioni su alcuni lavori in corso all’interno della villa, che avrebbero potuto impedire un futuro e corretto risanamento di una struttura di elevato valore storico e architettonico. L’aggressione è stata interrotta dall’arrivo degli agenti di polizia, chiamati dalla troupe. «Continuo a fare il mio lavoro» ha detto l’inviata di Striscia, «per fortuna ho la testa dura»
STEFANIA PETYXSTEFANIA PETYX STEFANIA PETYXSTEFANIA PETYX

The US-led coalition will continue to maintain contact with the Russian military in Syria to prevent any conflicts between the two sides in the course of the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), a coalition official said.....

US-led coalition vows to avoid incidents with Russian military in Syria


The US-led coalition will continue to maintain contact with the Russian military in Syria to prevent any conflicts between the two sides in the course of the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), a coalition official said.
The US-led coalition will continue to keep in contact with Russia to prevent conflicts in Syria, Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), said during a briefing.
He went on to say that representatives of the Russian forces in Syria and those of the US-led coalition met in person “in the last couple of days” to coordinate and enhance conflict prevention measures of both sides in the region.
In the meeting, the two sides stressed the necessity of exchanging graphic data and information on the areas where they conduct operations to avoid accidental strikes and other potential incidents that could “distract” them from defeating Islamic State.
The colonel said that the CJTF-OIR and the Russian forces group in Syria have several de-confliction telephone lines: the one that allows them to discuss the conflict prevention measures in the air, another one that deals with the ground operations and also a direct line between the CJTF-OIR commander and the commander of the Russian forces in Syria.
Dillon also said he believes it was the first time the US and Russian commanders overseeing ground operations in Syria met in person.
At the same time, he said that there is no direct communication between the US forces and the Russian-supported forces on the ground, particularly in the Euphrates valley to the east of Deir ez-Zor, and all the de-confliction efforts are conducted via the telephone lines.
Dillon also refused to answer a question regarding whether the US security services could be behind the recent attack of Al-Nusra terrorists on Syrian Army positions. The colonel said he had “no information” on that matter and “would not entertain that question.”

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All parties to Iran’s nuclear agreement remain in full compliance with the deal, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said after the Wednesday P5+1 powers’ meeting. She emphasized that the deal had potentially averted a military incursion into Iran....

No renegotiating Iran nuclear deal, all parties fully compliant – EU foreign policy chief


All parties to Iran’s nuclear agreement remain in full compliance with the deal, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said after the Wednesday P5+1 powers’ meeting. She emphasized that the deal had potentially averted a military incursion into Iran.
“This is an agreement that prevented a nuclear program and potentially prevented a military intervention,” Mogherini said, following a meeting of ministers representing the six world powers and Iran on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Calling the negotiations a “frank” discussion, Mogherini said that it boiled down to all sides agreeing that no country has breached the terms of the deal.
“We all agreed on the fact that there is no violation, that the nuclear program-related aspects, which is all the agreement, are being fulfilled,” she said.
In an apparent reference to the recent criticism of the deal by US President Donald Trump, who has labeled the landmark agreement“worst deal ever negotiated” while vowing to scrap it, Mogherini argued that “there is no need to renegotiate parts of the agreement.”
Among the issues raised at the meeting was Washington’s commitment to the deal, Mogherini confirmed.
Speaking on whether she considers the deal to be effective, Mogherini said the answer to this question should lie exclusively within the scope of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is tasked with watching over Iran’s compliance with the scaling down of its uranium enrichment.
A potential US withdrawal from the deal was not on the agenda of the meeting, she said, noting that the parties did not discuss any scenarios resulting from Washington walking out on the agreement.
"The scope of the nuclear deal is related to the nuclear program of Iran. There are other issues that are out of the scope of the agreement, and these issues might be tackled in different formats,"she told journalists, when asked about Trump’s frustration with the deal.
Tillerson reaffirmed the US commitment to the deal but said that Trump is now weighing arguments “from both sides” to make a final decision whether the existing agreement meets US interests.
"We’ve had sufficient time to get our own kind of direct understanding of this agreement and how it functions. I think the time has come for a decision to be made,” Tillerson said. He added that President Trump had told him he had already made up his mind on the matter, but did not disclose any details at the time.
Tillerson confirmed that the US acknowledged Iran’s compliance with the letter of the deal.
"From the technical standpoint, the IAEA reports continue to indicate and confirm that Iran is in technical compliance with the agreement," Tillerson said, adding that the US will keep on monitoring Iran’s nuclear activity and “take additional steps.”
While the top US diplomat did not provide any details on the nature of those “steps,” he insisted that “none” of them would leave the US “in any way contrary to our obligations under the JCPOA.”
Moscow once again voiced support for the deal, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying that Iran’s strict compliance with the agreement attested to by the IAEA allows Tehran to fully realize the deal’s potential in the economic, political and security spheres.
“Lavrov has confirmed that Russia will continue contributing to maintaining the stability of the JCPOA,” the Russian Foreign Minstry said in a statement after the meeting.

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