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Iran Finds Black Boxes after Ukrainian Plane Crash Kills 176

A Ukrainian airliner crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran on Wednesday killing all 176 people on board, mainly Iranians and Canadians.

Search-and-rescue teams were combing through the smoking wreckage of the Boeing 737 flight from Tehran to Kiev but officials said there was no hope of finding anyone alive.

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Pompeo Says Would 'Happily' Go to Tehran

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday he would "happily" go to Tehran to address tensions between the two countries over US sanctions on the  Gulf nation.

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Iran's Rouhani to Join Repatriation Ceremony for Hajj Dead

President Hassan Rouhani will fly home early from New York to attend a repatriation ceremony in Tehran on Tuesday for Iranian pilgrims killed in the stampede at the hajj, his office said.

Rouhani is to head home straight after his address to the U.N. General Assembly later on Monday, the Iranian mission at the United Nations said.

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Netanyahu, Putin Agree Plan to Avoid Syria Clashes

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed on a plan to avoid "misunderstandings" in Syria amid an apparent military build-up by Moscow to support President Bashar Assad.

The two leaders reached an agreement on Monday during talks in Russia, with Israeli media reporting that the discussions involved avoiding clashes between the two militaries' jets over Syria.

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France Opens Tehran Business Office in Bid to Rebuild Trade

France opened a business development office in Tehran on Monday seeking to renew once-strong economic ties with Iran after the July 14 nuclear deal in the face of "fierce competition".

French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll and Minister of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl inaugurated the "Business France" office on a visit with some 150 business leaders that is to run until Wednesday.

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Iran Hands IAEA Samples from Suspect Parchin Site

Iran said Monday it independently collected samples at a suspect military site where illicit nuclear work is alleged to have occurred and later handed them to the U.N.'s absent inspectors.

The disclosure that international monitors were not physically present is likely to feed critics of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, who have poured scorn on measures used to check if Tehran's atomic program is peaceful.

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IAEA chief heads to Tehran for nuclear talks

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog will travel to Iran on Saturday for talks on Tehran's nuclear program with senior officials, the IAEA said in a statement.

The discussions between International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano and the "high-level" officials will take place on Sunday, it said, as a December deadline looms for completion of a long-running investigation into Iran's past nuclear activities.

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Obama Calls for Better Cooperation with Israel to Confront Hizbullah

U.S. President Barack Obama has stressed the importance of better intelligence cooperation between Washington and Tel Aviv to stop Hizbullah from obtaining more missiles with which to target Israel.

“As much intelligence cooperation and sharing as we’re already doing, we need to do better if we want to stop Hizbullah from continuing to get missiles that can be trained on Tel Aviv,” Obama told The Forward, a newspaper published in New York for a Jewish-American audience, in an interview.

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Obama Says U.S. to Uphold Sanctions Linked to Iran Support for Hizbullah

President Barack Obama wrote in a letter to Congress that the U.S. will uphold sanctions targeting Iran's non-nuclear activities, such as its support for Hizbullah.

Obama promised Democratic lawmakers that the U.S. will continue to keep economic pressure on Iran — and keep military options open — if his administration's nuclear deal with Tehran goes through.

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U.S. to Push Ahead with Vexed Syria Training Mission

President Barack Obama's administration vowed to press ahead with a half-billion-dollar mission to train Syrian opposition fighters Tuesday, despite fears that its initial failures have dented U.S. credibility. 

After the routing of a 54-strong U.S.-trained force by al-Qaida allied rebels, Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Elissa Smith told Agence France Presse there was no plan to pause or scale back the program.

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