Jan. 28 – A senior aide to the US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley left Washington’s negotiating team for the Iran nuclear deal this week.

Deputy Special Envoy Richard Nephew, who was the second highest ranking official on the team, is the third member to step down from the discussions in Vienna.

The US officials appeared to have been calling for a tougher stance at the talks, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

A sharp increase in Coronavirus cases in Iran has been attributed to the new Omicron variant, with a rise in the number of areas affected.

According to government figures daily registered cases rose from 700 in January to more than 9,000 cases on Tuesday. However the number of deaths has remained relatively low following a nationwide vaccine rollout in the country.

Health officials in Iran have warned that the country could now face its sixth wave of Coronavirus.

And Iran’s oil minister Javad Owji asked Iranians to use gas sparingly following his announcement on Saturday that the country’s gas consumption was at an all-time high.

In a post on Twitter, the minister said a record 692 million cubic (meters) of gas consumption had been registered in households and commercial industries over a period of 24 hours and urged citizens to manage their usage.

Iran currently has 28 million gas subscribers, placing a significant amount of pressure on the country’s gas supply. It remains unclear whether Iran’s gas exports to Azerbaijan, Iraq and Turkey — which began in January — are also affecting gas supplies in Iran.

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