Aug. 27 – Iran’s parliament approved all but one of President Ebrahim Raisi’s nominated cabinet ministers this week.

Several of Raisi’s cabinet members are on US or EU sanctions lists, including Raisi, who was blacklisted by the US government over allegations of human rights abuses while serving as a judge.

Iran’s judiciary chief has also been sanctioned by the US, marking the first time in Iran’s recent history that both its president and head of its judiciary have been sanctioned together. The hardline government will focus on easing US sanctions and addressing the economic crisis in Iran over the coming months.

Washington said it was ready to compromise on proposed terms of the nuclear deal if Tehran was also willing to make concessions, as talks remained on hold. A US diplomat leading the negotiations said the US would compromise on “difficult issues” if Tehran were to do the same.

The US’s Special Envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, said on Wednesday that he hoped Iran would return to the negotiating table “with a realistic approach,” following the formation of the country’s conservative government.

Iranian hardline, anti-western diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was selected as Iran’s foreign minister, and will be overseeing the nuclear deal negotiations. Amir-Abdollahian is expected to follow Raisi’s stance on the deal, which focuses on restoring the 2015 agreement while resisting US attempts to broaden the terms of the deal.

And a large explosion at a power plant in Neyshabur City caused widespread blackouts in the area.

Semi-official news agency Fars said no one was injured during the blast, while opposition media outlets in the country said several casualties had been reported and that damage to the facility was substantial.

Opposition media outlets also suggested that the blast may have been an act of sabotage.

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