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Iran’s defense minister says country must ready for nuclear, chemical attacks

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Amir Hatami warns ‘enemies of humanity’ will use any means to achieve war goals, including biological warfare

(Asian News Hub) – Iran’s defense minister said on Tuesday that the country must be ready to defend itself against nuclear, biological and chemical attacks.

“We should be prepared to defend our nation against all threats and whatever the enemy may one day use as an offensive tool, including chemical, nuclear and biological weapons,” said Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Hatami said the “enemies of humanity” were prepared to use all means to achieve their military goals.

Iran’s defense ministry “had adopted all the necessary measures against all threats,” he said.

His statements came on the anniversary of a 1987 mustard gas attack by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein against Iraqi Kurds, Fars said. He had previously used the chemical weapon against Iranian Kurds.

Hatami’s statements came as tensions climb in the Middle East, with the US and Iran jockeying for position ahead of expected nuclear negotiations.

Last week, Hatami that his country would give a devastating response to any Israeli attack, and that the Jewish state was aware of the peril, according to Iranian media reports.

A series of incidents at sea have also turned up the heat, including an explosion on an Israel-owned tanker in the Persian Gulf last month, an alleged attack on an Iranian ship and a report that said Israel targeted a series of Iranian ships headed to Syria.

Iran’s foreign ministry on Monday blamed Israel for the blast on the Iranian ship last week and said Iran had the right to respond.Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday urged the United States to quickly rejoin the 2015 agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, warning that the Islamic Republic’s upcoming elections could stymie progress in any talks.

The Trump administration in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the US from the nuclear accord, in which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

When the US then reimposed some sanctions and added others, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development, enriching uranium to just under weapons-grade levels.

The Biden administration has said repeatedly it will return to the deal, if Iran first returns to compliance. Iran demands the US first lift sanctions, putting the two sides at a stalemate.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long opposed the agreement and repeatedly warned against the US returning to the deal. Israel has said an agreement curtailing Iran’s nuclear program must also address its missile program and support for terrorist groups throughout the region.

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard on Monday inaugurated a new underground facility designated for missile storage, the country’s state TV reported. The report quoted Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami as saying that cruise and ballistic missiles will empower the force’s navy even more. The TV report showed footage of scores of missiles in an enclosed space resembling an underground corridor.

The US and its Western allies see Iran’s missile program as a threat, along with the country’s nuclear program.

With Inputs From Agencies

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Afghanistan: 37 killed, over 70 injured as blast hits Shia mosque in Kandahar

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(Asian News Hub) – Suicide bombers assaulted a Shiite mosque in southern Afghanistan that was packed with worshippers attending weekly Friday prayers, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 70, Associated Press reported quoting hospital official and an eyewitness.

The attack on the Imam Barga mosque came a week after a bombing claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan.

Also Read: Amit Shah warns Pakistan, refers to surgical strike

Murtaza, an eye-witness who like many Afghans goes by one name, said four suicide bombers attacked the mosque. Two detonated their explosives at a security gate, allowing the other two to run inside and strike the congregation of worshippers.

Speaking to The Associated Press by phone, he said Friday prayers are typically attended by around 500 people.

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At least 20 killed, over 300 injured in an earthquake in Pakistan

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(Asian News Hub) – At least 20 people were killed and over 300 others injured after a powerful 5.9 earthquake struck Pakistan’s Balochistan province early on Thursday, October 7, 2021, according to PTI quoting media reports.

Disaster management officials said the death toll may increase, Geo News reported.

According to the seismological centre, the epicentre was located near Harnai at a depth of 15 km.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said many of the dead were women and children.

The quake affected Quetta, Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob in Balochistan.

Images on social media showed people in the city of Quetta out on the streets in the aftermath of the quake, Dawn newspaper reported.

Aftershocks are still being felt in different areas. The earliest tremors were felt at 3:20 am after which panicked citizens rushed out of their houses reciting verses from the holy Quran. Relief and rescue activities are underway, with an emergency declared in all hospitals.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Harnai Sohail Anwar Hashmi, several people have been rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

He said that several buildings in Harnai have been damaged. Many people were left buried under the rubble.

The power supply to the area has been suspended, he said.

According to the rescue sources, more than 70 houses were reported damaged in Harnai.

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World surpasses 5M COVID-19 deaths

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(Asian News Hub) – The coronavirus death toll around the world surpassed 5 million on Friday, according to Reuters’s tally.

Around the world, an average of 8,000 deaths a day were reported, according to the outlet. However, it noted that the global death rate has slowed in recent weeks.

Reuters reported that it took over a year to accumulate 2.5 million deaths, but it took under eight months to accumulate the second 2.5 million deaths.

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