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.”


Boat with migrants rescued off Libya looks for port to dock

Updated 10 min 42 sec ago
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Boat with migrants rescued off Libya looks for port to dock

  • Sea-Watch 3 asked where it can bring the 47 migrants it had taken aboard

ROME: A private rescue boat with dozens of migrants aboard sought permission for a second day to enter a safe port Sunday, but said so far its queries to several nations haven’t succeeded. Another vessel crowded with migrants and taking on water, meanwhile, put out an urgent, separate appeal for help in the southern Mediterranean.
Sea-Watch 3, run by a German NGO, said Sunday it has contacted Italy, Malta, Libya as well as the Netherlands, since the boat is Dutch-flagged, asking where it can bring the 47 migrants it had taken aboard. Sea-Watch tweeted that Libyan officials had hung up when it asked for a port assignment.
An Italian state TV reporter aboard Sea-Watch 3 said the rescue took place Saturday about 50 kilometers (30 miles) off the coast west of Tripoli in Libya’s search-and-rescue area. Libya-based human traffickers launch flimsy or rickety boats, crowded with migrants hoping to reach Europe and its opportunities for better lives.
Separately, Sea-Watch tweeted Sunday afternoon that it had been urgently contacted by a boat with 100 migrants aboard that said it was taking on water, 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) from the current location at sea of Sea-Watch 3.
The distressed vessel reported navigational problems and had among the migrants a child “unconscious or deceased,” Sea-Watch said. Subsequent communication said the boat was “taking in water” and asked Sea-Watch to call for help, “regardless of what this would mean concerning a possible return to Libya,” Sea-Watch said.
The aid group later said Malta on the phone confirmed “that they will come back to us” regarding the distress call, but it wasn’t immediately clear what kind of assistance the Maltese might give.
Migrants dread the prospect of being returned to Libya, where they have reported torture including beatings and rapes in overcrowded detention centers.
The governments of Malta and Italy have been refusing to allow private rescue boats rescuing migrants to dock. Both contend that in recent years they have taken in many migrants rescued at sea and that fellow European Union nations must agree to take their share of these asylum-seekers.
Earlier this month, Malta transferred to land 49 migrants who had been aboard Sea-Watch 3 as long as 19 days but refused the boat port entry. They were allowed to set foot on the southern Mediterranean island only after an EU-brokered deal found several countries willing to take them as well as other migrants, who had been rescued at sea earlier in separate operations by Malta.