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Albania cuts diplomatic relations with Iran accusing it of a massive cyberattack

Albania cuts diplomatic relations with Iran accusing it of a massive cyberattack

Albania broke diplomatic relations with Iran on Wednesday. Announcing the decision, Prime Minister Edi Rama said Iran had launched a massive cyberattack against the country during the summer. “The Council of Ministers has decided on the severance of diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran with immediate effect,” he said. The prime minister accused Iran of targeting the computer networks of Albanian institutions on July 15 in an attempt to “paralyze public services and hack data and electronic communications from the government systems.” He said: “The said attack failed its purpose. Damages may be considered minimal compared to the goals of the aggressor. All systems came back fully operational and there was no irreversible wiping of data.” He added that Iranian diplomats and support staff would be given 24 hours to leave the country.

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Albania cuts diplomatic relations with Iran accusing it of a massive cyberattack

Albania cuts diplomatic relations with Iran accusing it of a massive cyberattack

Albania broke diplomatic relations with Iran on Wednesday. Announcing the decision, Prime Minister Edi Rama said Iran had launched a massive cyberattack against the country during the summer. “The Council of Ministers has decided on the severance of diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran with immediate effect,” he said. The prime minister accused Iran of targeting the computer networks of Albanian institutions on July 15 in an attempt to “paralyze public services and hack data and electronic communications from the government systems.” He said: “The said attack failed its purpose. Damages may be considered minimal compared to the goals of the aggressor. All systems came back fully operational and there was no irreversible wiping of data.” He added that Iranian diplomats and support staff would be given 24 hours to leave the country.
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The world waits whilst Tehran and Washington haggle about nuclear deal

The world waits whilst Tehran and Washington haggle about nuclear deal

After years of tension and months of negotiations, it appeared in August that the process of reviving the Iran nuclear, known as JCPOA, was coming to a successful close. The EU negotiators, who had been leading the difficult discussions, made what they said was the "final offer", and early indications from both Tehran and Washington appeared to be positive. In Brussels, officials were cautiously optimistic that a deal was in the bag. But the process dragged on and reports in some Middle East media sources appear to suggest that it has now grinded again back to a halt.  The US said Iran’s latest response was “not constructive”.  
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Diplomats confident that an agreement on the Iran nuclear deal can be reached within days

Diplomats confident that an agreement on the Iran nuclear deal can be reached within days

European diplomats are confident that an agreement on the Iran nuclear deal is within reach and may be achieved within days. EU High Representative for foreign and security policy, Josep Borrell said on Monday that Iran had given a “reasonable” response to the final text of a proposed new agreement, and the ball was now in the US court. Borrell suggested that a meeting to seal an agreement may take place as early as this week. Borrell said the negotiations brokered by the EU had gone as far as they could go and “this is the inflection point.” He said: “There was an Iranian response that I considered reasonable to transmit to the US. “The US has not formally replied yet. But we are waiting for their response and I hope that response will allow us to finish the negotiation — I hope so, but I can’t assure you of it.” Efforts to restore the Joint Comprehensive  Plan of Action — the 2015 agreement between world powers and Tehran aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions — are at a critical point after 16 months of on-off indirect talks in Vienna.  
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Decision time for the future of the Iran nuclear deal

Decision time for the future of the Iran nuclear deal

After years of uncertainty and negotiations, it is finally decision time for the future of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). On Monday (8 August), the European Union submitted a “final text” at talks to salvage the 2015 deal aimed at reining in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Tehran said it was reviewing the proposals. Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran and Russia, as well as the United States indirectly, resumed talks on Thursday in Vienna, months after they had stalled. The European Union has submitted a “final text,” a European official said on Monday. “We worked for four days and today the text is on the table,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity. “The negotiation is finished, it’s the final text... and it will not be renegotiated.” “Now the ball is in the court of the capitals and we will see what happens,” the European official added. AFP news agency quoted European diplomats as saying that the final draft tabled is non-negotiable, and “stretches us all to the limits of our flexibility.”  According to The Wall Street Journal correspondent Laurence Norman, a senior EU official said that EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will send messages to participating states setting out the next steps. The EU has been co-ordinating the efforts to revive the JCPOA, which involved mediating indirect talks between Iran and the United States.
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Al Qaeda leader killed in a CIA anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan

Al Qaeda leader killed in a CIA anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan

The United States delivered a heavy blow against the Al-Qaeda terrorist group on Sunday, killing its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a CIA drone strike on the house where he was staying in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. “Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” US president Joe Biden said in a special televised address from outside the White House. Intelligence had located al-Zawahiri’s family in Kabul earlier this year, Biden said, adding that no members of the family or civilians had been killed in the attack. Earlier, US officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told reporters earlier that the CIA carried out a drone attack in Kabul using two missiles. Al-Zawahiri was on his balcony at the time, they said. The killing of Zawahiri in Kabul also raises questions about the return of international terrorism to Afghanistan after the Taliban take-over last year.
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The unlikely trio met in Tehran

The unlikely trio met in Tehran

A summit meeting of the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran took place in Tehran on Tuesday 19 July. This is an unlikely trio, three ambitious regional powers who have been brought together by circumstances. The event itself was a set-piece affair, and most of the serious work was done in the bilateral Iran-Russia, Iran-Turkey and Turkey-Russia meetings. Top of the agenda was Syria, and Turkey's determination not to allow Syria to be a springboard for Kurdish militant activity against it. Turkey has for weeks been preparing for a military operation into Syria. Turkish president, Recip Tayip Erdogan told his Russian and Iranian counterparts that he expected their full support in Ankara’s fight against “terrorists” in Syria. Both Russia and Iran have a military presence in parts of Syria mentioned as possible targets of Turkey’s new assault. “What we expect from Russia and Iran is their support for Turkey in its fight against terrorism,” Erdogan said. However, in a meeting with Erdogan on Monday (18 July), Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei told Erdogan such an offensive would be “detrimental” for the region and called for the issue to be resolved through dialogue between Ankara, Damascus, Moscow and Tehran. A 16 point statement was issued at the end of the summit which makes no reference to the imminent Turkish offensive.