| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi delays Africa tour, says Kenya

Kenyan foreign ministry announced that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has delayed his tour of Africa and now will kick it off a day late on Wednesday (July 12). The announcement was made after Raisi failed to appear at a press event.
The rare visit by the Iranian president to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe has come as the Islamic Republic attempts to forge new alliances and tackle its international isolation. The three-day trip will be the first by an Iranian president to Africa in 11 years.

On Tuesday morning, Raisi was scheduled to hold a press conference with Kenyan President William Ruto. But neither of them showed up.
“The schedule of the president has now been reviewed to allow for finalisation of key MoUs (memoranda of understanding) that are central to the furtherance of relations,” Kenya’s foreign ministry said.

“The Iranian president will now arrive tomorrow for a state visit,” it said, adding that the two leaders would hold bilateral talks at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) on Wednesday.

A Ugandan official said Raisi’s trip to the East African country would proceed as previously scheduled, with his two-day visit due to begin on Wednesday.

President Yoweri Museveni and his Iranian counterpart will hold talks, address the media and a business forum during the visit, said Faruk Kirunda, deputy press secretary to the Ugandan leader.

Iran not pursuing nuclear weapons currently: US
A United States assessment has said that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons at the moment. However, it says that Iran has ramped up activities which could help it develop them.

The assessment has come from the office of the Director of National Intelligence and was released on Monday (July 10). It says that Iran has taken steps to increase its capacity to make an atomic bomb since 2020 but has stopped short of that so far.

The findings corresponded with previous U.S. assessments about Iran’s nuclear program, although many in Congress and elsewhere have been skeptical of those.
The Biden administration has been intent on returning to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA was struck during the Obama administration but his successor, former president Donald Trump pulled USA out of it.

The effort to revive the deal has become complicated in recent months due to suspension of chief negotiator Rob Malley who has been placed on unpaid leave last month pending investigation into claims that he mishandled information.

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