Iran scolds world powers over gold sanctions 'offer'

Updated 18 February 2013
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Iran scolds world powers over gold sanctions 'offer'

DUBAI: Iran criticized on Monday a reported plan by major powers to demand the closure of a uranium enrichment plant in return for an easing of sanctions on Tehran's trade in gold and other precious metals, Iranian media reported.
The Islamic Republic, which says its nuclear program is peaceful, started building the Fordow plant inside a mountain in secret as early as 2006, to protect it from air strikes.
Last week Reuters reported world powers were planning to offer to ease sanctions barring trade in gold and other precious metals with Iran in return for steps to shut down Fordow.
On Monday Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, suggested the reported offer was unacceptable.
"Lately they have said 'Shut down Fordow, stop (uranium) enrichment, we will allow gold transactions'," Mehmanparast said, according to the Mehr news agency. "They want to take away the rights of a nation in exchange for allowing trade in gold."
Western officials said last week the offer to ease sanctions barring gold and other precious metals trade with Iran would be presented at talks between Iran and world powers in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Feb. 26.
They acknowledged it represented a relatively modest update to proposals that the six major powers made in talks last year.
On Sunday, the head of Iran's parliamentary national security and foreign policy committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said Fordow would never be shut down and that proposing its closure was "meant to help the Zionist regime (Israel)".
Mehmanparast said talks on the nuclear issue must take account of Iran's sovereign rights.
"We are ready for negotiations, negotiations that have a logical approach which officially recognizes our rights completely. Of course steps must be concurrent and of equal weight," he said.
Israel, assumed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, has threatened to attack Iran if diplomacy and sanctions fail to curb its nuclear work, raising fears of a regional war.
Fordow lies at the heart of concerns over Iran's nuclear activities because of the enrichment of uranium to a fissile concentration of 20 percent, which the US and its allies say is a major step towards developing nuclear weapons capability.
Iran says its aims are purely peaceful and that it enriches uranium to a higher grade to make isotopes for medical purposes.


Letter to Qatar: Abandon PR, change attitude, and siege would be lifted

Updated 26 April 2018
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Letter to Qatar: Abandon PR, change attitude, and siege would be lifted

LONDON: Four Arab ambassadors have called on Qatar to improve relations with its neighbors, change its attitude and stop its support for extremism, terror and destabilization in the region.

The four ambassadors of Saudi Arabia (Mohammed bin Nawwa), Bahrain (Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa), the UAE (Suleiman Al-Mazroui) and Egypt (Nasser Kamel) co-wrote a letter published on Wednesday in the Financial Times to answer an FT lead article titled “Qatar siege is meaningless.”

The ambassadors stressed in the letter that their governments had no plans to incorporate Qatar, as the FT claimed, but all they hoped for is that the Doha government committed to the international criteria to fight terrorism and “stop its support for terror and extremism in the region.”

In the letter, the four ambassadors reminded the paper that the prime minister of Qatar attended the wedding of the son of Abdel Rahman Al-Nueimi,who is listed on a US terror list, and is the main conduit to Al-Qaeda in Iraq where, according to the US, he funnelled millions of US dollars to the organization there.

The ambassadors added that Al-Nueimi is one of many sponsors of terror living and working in Qatar.

The ambassadors drew the readers’ attention to Qatar’s “double standard behavior” — saying one thing to the West, and doing the opposite.

They concluded the letter by demonstrating Qatar’s “duplicity.”

They said that Qatar has recently intensified the use of its media and PR to promote and support terror in the Middle East generally and in Saudi Arabia especially.

Recently Qatari broadcasters opened their airwaves to Houthi militia in Yemen and its propaganda calling for attacking Saudi Arabia.

In conclusion the ambassadors called on Doha to quit its public relations campaign and change its attitude — only then would the siege be over.