UN nuclear watchdog says Iran taking ‘step in right direction’

Acting Head of IAEA said Iranian engagements doesn’t mean the issues are resolved. (File/AFP)
Updated 04 October 2019

UN nuclear watchdog says Iran taking ‘step in right direction’

  • IAEA head said Iran has been engaging in questions of nuclear safeguards
  • The organization’s questions did not directly address the 2015 nuclear deal

VIENNA: The UN’s nuclear watchdog said Friday that Iran had taken “a step in the right direction” toward dealing with questions on its nuclear program but cautioned that the issues have not been “completely addressed.”
Acting head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Cornel Feruta told journalists in Vienna there had in the past few weeks been “engagement” from Iran on questions relating to its nuclear safeguards declarations to the agency.
He added that “engagement doesn’t mean that the issues are completely addressed but it’s a step in the right direction.”
Feruta said the relevant questions from the IAEA did not touch directly on the faltering 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers but rather on Iran’s separate safeguards agreement with the agency.
While the IAEA has been careful not to specify what the outstanding questions relate to, diplomatic sources in Vienna say the agency has been waiting for information from the Iranians relating to samples taken earlier this year from a warehouse near the capital Tehran.
In 2018 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of using the site for undeclared nuclear activity.
In his remarks to journalists, Feruta did not detail what the agency’s questions related to but said the IAEA was “discussing substance” with the Iranians.


Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

Updated 34 min 47 sec ago

Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

  • The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s tourists
  • Apsara authority plans to end the elephant rides by 2020
PHNOM PENH: Cambodia will ban all elephant rides at the country’s famed Angkor temple park by early next year, an official said Friday, a rare win for conservationists who have long decried the popular practice as cruel.
The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s foreign tourists — which topped six million in 2018 — and many opt for elephants rides around the ancient temples.
But these rides “will end by the start of 2020,” said Long Kosal, a spokesman with the Apsara Authority, which manages the park.
“Using elephants for business is not appropriate anymore,” he told AFP, adding that some of the animals were “already old.”
So far, five of the 14 working elephants have been transferred to a community forest about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the temples.
“They will live out their natural lives there,” Kosal said.
The company that owns the elephants will continue to look after them, he added.
Cambodia has long come under fire from animal rights groups for ubiquitous elephant rides on offer for tourists, also seen in neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
The elephants are broken in during training and rights groups have accused handlers of overworking them.
In 2016, a female elephant died by the roadside after carrying tourists around the Angkor Wat temple complex in severely hot weather.
The animal had been working for around 45 minutes before she collapsed.