Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, Jan. 12

Middle East USA World

TUNIS — Tunisia decided on Tuesday evening to impose a general lockdown for a period of four days starting from Jan. 14, to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country.

At a press conference held at the government’s headquarters, Tunisian Minister of Health Faouzi Mehdi also announced a curfew throughout the Tunisian territory from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time. (Tunisia-COVID-19-Lockdown)

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BAGHDAD — Iraqi lawmaker Gatah al-Rekabi on Tuesday blasted U.S. President Donald Trump’s pardoning four Blackwater guards convicted of murdering Iraqi civilians in 2007 as “blatant violation of human rights.”

“The U.S. occupation has left tragedies in most areas of the country, and what happened in the Blackwater massacre in Baghdad and the recent pardon by President Donald Trump of the company’s perpetrators was a blatant violation of human rights from a country that claims democracy,” al-Rekabi, a member of the Iraqi parliamentary security committee, told Baghdad Today News Agency. (Iraq-U.S.-Trump Pardon)

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TEHRAN — Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiee said on Tuesday that as long as the Iranian 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is alive, the relevant inspections of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will go on.

Answering a question about the expulsion of the inspectors of the IAEA in his weekly press conference, Rabiee said that Iran’s commitments about inspections have three parts: one part is based on safeguards; one part is based on the Additional Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is voluntary; and the last part is based on the JCPOA. (Iran-Nuke Deal-IAEA)

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CAIRO — Egypt officially reopened its airspace to Qatari aircraft on Tuesday, ending over three years’ airspace ban on the Gulf state, official news agency MENA reported on Tuesday.

“The move allows EgyptAir, the country’s flag carrier, and Qatar Airways to resume air traffic and exchange flight schedules between the Egyptian and Qatari civil authorities for approval,” chairman of Egypt’s Civil Aviation Authority Ashraf Noweir was quoted by MENA as saying. (Egypt-Qatar-Airspace)