Obama, Rowhani ‘swapped letters’

Updated 28 December 2013
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Obama, Rowhani ‘swapped letters’

WASHINGTON: Barack Obama says he and Iran’s new President Hassan Rowhani have exchanged letters, and warned his reluctance to strike Syria had no bearing on US threats of force to thwart an Iranian nuclear bomb.
The US president, in an interview aired on ABC News Sunday, confirmed the outreach to Rowhani for the first time, and said he believed the Syria chemical arms drama showed that diplomacy could work if backed by threats of military action.
Obama was asked on the ABC News “This Week” program whether he had reached out to Rowhani, a moderate conservative elected in June. “I have. And he’s reached out to me. We haven’t spoken — directly,” Obama said.
Asked by interviewer George Stephanopoulos whether the contact was via letters, Obama replied : “Yes.”
The president was careful to draw a distinction between US behavior over Syria after freezing military action to negotiate a deal with Russia to secure the regime’s chemical arms, and Washington’s approach to Iran as a nuclear showdown reaches a critical point.
“I think what the Iranians understand is that — the nuclear issue — is a far larger issue for us than the chemical weapons issue,” Obama said.
“The threat against ... Israel, that a nuclear Iran poses, is much closer to our core interests.
“A nuclear arms race in the region — is something that would be profoundly destabilizing.
“My suspicion is that the Iranians recognize they shouldn’t draw a lesson — that we haven’t struck (Syria) — to think we won’t strike Iran.”
Obama said that on the other hand, the lesson from the showdown over Syria’s chemical weapons, should show that “there is the potential of resolving these issues diplomatically.”
The US has repeatedly warned Iran that it has the option of military action, if diplomacy and crippling sanctions do not convince Tehran to stop short of building nuclear weapons. Iran denies that its nuclear program has a military use.


Iranian opposition groups protest in Brussels

Updated 15 June 2019
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Iranian opposition groups protest in Brussels

LONDON: Iranian opposition groups protested outside the Council of the European Union in Brussels on Saturday against the regime in Tehran.
The protests mark the upcoming anniversary of protests in 1981, when the People’s Mujahedin of Iran demonstrated against the impeachment of the then president Abolhassan Banisadr.
Several European politicians, including the former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and the former Vice President of the European Parliament Alejo Vidal-Quadras, gave speeches at the protest in support of the Iranian opposition.
The President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran Maryam Rajavi called on the “EU to designate the mullahs’ Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and their Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) as terrorist entities.”
She also said that the Iranian “regime’s mercenaries must be tried, punished and expelled.”
Rajavi also saluted “supporters of the Iranian people’s Resistance, and the Human Rights advocates who have come from various European and Arab countries.”