News Digest: Week of June 14

June 14

Health: Iran approved emergency use of CovIran Barekat, its first domestically developed vaccine. Health Minister Namaki said that a permit for the second vaccine, Razi CovPars, would be issued the following week. "The entire target population of Iran will be vaccinated by the end of coming fall,” he said

Israel: Tehran expressed skepticism that relations with Israel would improve with the departure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu. "I don't think Israel's policies will change with the new government," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said.



June 15

Diplomacy: Enrique Mora, the E.U. coordinator for nuclear talks in Vienna, expressed optimism that negotiations to get the United States and Iran back into the 2015 nuclear deal would succeed. “The obstacles (are)...something that I think can be bridged,” he told reporters

Election: Abdolnasser Hemmati, a centrist presidential candidate, said that he was open to dialogue between Tehran and Washington. “If we really feel that America moves towards a positive coexistence to advance world and regional peace, then there should be no problem to hold talks," the former Central Bank governor told reporters.

Nuclear: Iran has produced 6.5 kg (14 lbs) of 60 percent enriched uranium, the government reported. The country also was on track to produce more uranium enriched to 20 percent than required by a law passed by Parliament in December. “The Atomic Energy Organization was supposed to produce 120 kg (265 lbs) of 20 percent enriched uranium in a year," spokesperson Ali Rabiei said. "According to the latest report, we now have produced 108 kg (238 lbs) of 20 percent uranium in the past five months."


June 16

Diplomacy: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) asked to be included in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. The six-member body warned of the "danger of separating" talks over Iran's nuclear program from discussions on its ballistic missile program and support for regional proxies. The GCC also urged the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen to respond to a Saudi peace initiative. 

Nuclear: The head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog acknowledged that reviving the 2015 nuclear deal would likely have to wait until a new government in Tehran is sworn in, Reuters reported. "Everyone knows that, at this point, it will be necessary to wait for the new Iranian government," Rafael Grossi told an Italian newspaper. President Hassan Rouhani's term ends on August 3.