April 29 – A former Iranian lawmaker said Tehran’s goal had always been to build a nuclear bomb, during an interview with Iranian media outlet ISCA News.

Ali Motahari said the plans were not launched with a view to deploying a bomb in the future but as a means of intimidation, and that support for the programme came from individuals inside the regime.

The comment contradicts official statements from Tehran which has continuously denied any plans to produce nuclear weapons.

The Iranian government confirmed it had allowed diplomats from the Taliban to work from Afghanistan’s Embassy in Tehran. However Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the decision did not signal a formal recognition by Tehran of the Taliban as a government.

Khatibzadeh said Taliban members had been allowed in to the embassy to deal with a backlog of cases at the consulate.

And Iran said it had not yet received the $552 million it had been promised shortly before British-Iranians Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori were freed from detention in Iran.

The funds — which have been released by the UK — have since been blocked in Oman which acted as a mediator for the countries, according to an Iranian government official.

Human rights experts suggested that the holdup was related to the ongoing detention of foreign national Morad Tahbaz, who was sent back to prison after Tehran agreed to place him on indefinite furlough.

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