Iran ‘will not renegotiate N-deal’

Iran's deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. (AP file photo)
Updated 16 January 2017
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Iran ‘will not renegotiate N-deal’

DUBAI/TEHRAN: Iran will not renegotiate its nuclear agreement with world powers, even if it faces new US sanctions after Donald Trump becomes president, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Sunday.
US “hostility” to Iran is growing day by day despite Tehran’s nuclear deal, the senior Iranian official said, ahead of the first anniversary of the historic accord.
“The United States has done whatever it can do (to) slow down Iran’s progress” after the deal, said Araghchi, the chief Iranian negotiator in the agreement that took effect on Jan. 16 last year.
“In the last 12 months, we have witnessed delays and the disrespecting of promises by the US and some countries.
Their hostility increases by the day,” Araghchi told reporters.
Trump, who will take office on Friday, has threatened to either scrap the agreement, which curbs Iran’s nuclear program and lifts sanctions against it, or seek a better deal.
“There will be no renegotiation and the (agreement) will not be reopened,” said Araqchi, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator at the talks that led to the agreement in 2015, quoted by the state news agency IRNA.
“We and many analysts believe that the (agreement) is consolidated. The new US administration will not be able to abandon it,” Araqchi told a news conference in Tehran, held a year after the deal took effect.
“Nuclear talks with America are over and we have nothing else to discuss,” he added.
“It’s quite likely that the US Congress or the next administration will act against Iran and imposes new sanctions.”
Under Iran’s agreement with the US, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, most UN sanctions were lifted a year ago. But Iran is still subject to an UN arms embargo and other restrictions, which are not technically part of the nuclear agreement.
The agreement between Tehran and six world powers saw a range of international sanctions lifted in exchange for limits on Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran has seen a rise in oil exports and increased investment in manufacturing since it came into force.
But Iranian officials have accused Washington of failing to abide by the deal, including with a raft of other sanctions related to non-nuclear issues that have helped deter major Western banks from returning to Iran.
The president-elect vowed during last year’s campaign to tear up the agreement, considered a key victory for President Barack Obama.
Araghchi said it made little difference who was in the White House as international law required Washington to implement the deal.
“Whether its Obama or Trump, the US president is committed to canceling laws that are against it,” Araghchi said, adding that there would be no further discussions with US officials.
“Our nuclear negotiations with the Americans are finalized and we have no other political talks with them,” he said. “In our view, everything is over.”


In Damascus, war amputees walk again on Syrian-made prosthetics

Updated 2 min 13 sec ago
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In Damascus, war amputees walk again on Syrian-made prosthetics

  • Tens of thousands of people have lost limbs in Syria’s seven-year conflict
  • Every day, dozens of patients arrive from across Syria, whether they have lost limbs in the war or as a result of illness

DAMASCUS: Propped up by a mobility frame in a rehabilitation center in Syria’s capital, Abdulghani carefully inches forward on two artificial legs, as he walks for the first time in over a year.
“I want to be able to stand on my own two feet again,” says the 48-year-old veterinarian, his anxious son trailing him across the busy ward.
A specialist also carefully monitors double amputee Abdulghani’s progress, as he gets a feel for the locally made prosthetic limbs.
“I’m doing my best so that I can help myself and do the job I love,” says the father-of-seven from the central city of Hama, around 190 kilometers (120 miles) from Damascus, preferring not to give his second name.
Tens of thousands of people have lost limbs in Syria’s seven-year conflict.
And Abdulghani is one of hundreds helped back on his feet by the Damascus physical rehabilitation center — for free.
Patients of all ages try on artificial limbs for size, as staff bring brand new prosthetics from a nearby room.
Abdulghani lost both his legs in March last year, after being hit during shelling as he rode home on his motorbike from a job vaccinating livestock.
“After I was injured, I felt really desperate. I couldn’t move and I constantly needed help... It was a lot to bear,” he says.
“I was deeply embarrassed for my son whenever I had to go anywhere,” adds Abdulghani.
A doctor in Hama referred Abdulghani to the Damascus center, which is run by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Every day, dozens of patients arrive from across Syria, whether they have lost limbs in the war or as a result of illness.
“Right now I’m in the final phase — being fitted with artificial limbs and practicing” walking, Abdulghani says.
“In a week, I should be back on my legs again.”
Across the ward, a younger man tries to walk with a new artificial leg, his hands gripping rails running along a ramp for support.
A boy lies nearby on a bed, as a medic fits a prosthetic sock over his partially amputated leg, before fitting a replacement limb below the knee.
A World Health Organization report said last year that 86,000 Syrians had suffered wounds that led to amputation.
In an adjacent room, a Syrian prosthetist and his assistant put the final touches to plastic and metal limbs, supervised by an ICRC expert.
A newly finished artificial leg sits on an immaculately tidy work bench, under a board of neatly aligned screwdrivers and other tools.
Legs and arms of various sizes await the outside world, labelled with the names of their new owners.
The center started making its own prosthetic limbs in 2010, director Nadeer Kanaan says, but became more active after the civil war began the following year.
The number of amputees “increased due to the crisis, accidents, gunshots, (shell and rocket) fragments and land mines,” Kanaan says.
Production jumped from 250 artificial limbs in 2014 to double that last year — and since May, the center’s workers have been churning out 50 a month.
The facility mainly specializes in making prosthetics for people whose legs have been amputated above and below the knee, says 28 year-old supervisor Ayat Ezzadeen.
“Sometimes a patient turns up who’s really down, but we give them an artificial limb and they perk up,” she says.
Amani, 10, is wearing new brand-new pink-laced trainers for a second practice session with her new leg.
She comes from the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, where the Daesh group has lost significant ground in recent years.
The jihadists planted land mines as they retreated under pressure from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on one front and Russia-backed Syrian regime troops on another.
Amani “went out of the house to play in our village and a mine exploded, causing her leg to be amputated below the knee,” the girl’s 28-year-old aunt says.
“Thank God, she will now walk again.”