UAE defends Trump’s visa ban

United Arab Emirates' Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (R), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Arab League Secretary General (unseen) are seen during a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 02 February 2017
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UAE defends Trump’s visa ban

ABU DHABI: The UAE’s top diplomat on Wednesday came out in defense of President Donald Trump’s order temporarily barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, UAE foreign minister, said the US was within its rights to take what he said was a “sovereign decision” concerning immigration.
Sheikh Abdullah also voiced faith in the American administration’s assurances that the move was not based on religion, and noted that most of the world’s Muslim-majority countries were not covered by the order.
“There is a temporary ban and will be revised in three months, so it is important that we put into consideration this point,” he said.
“Some of these countries that were on this list are countries that face structural problems,” he continued. “These countries should try to solve these issues ... and these circumstances before trying to solve this issue with the US.”
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for lifting the ban, saying the measures would not prevent terrorists from entering the US. “I think that these measures should be removed sooner rather than later,” Guterres told reporters.
“Those measures indeed violate our basic principles and I think that they are not effective if the objective is to, really, avoid terrorists to enter the US,” he said. “If a global terrorist organization will try to attack any country like the US, they will probably not come with people with passports from those countries that are hotspots of conflicts today.”
“They might come with the passports from the most — I would say — developed and credible countries in the world or they might use people who are already in the country.”
British Premier Theresa May told British lawmakers that the ban was “divisive and wrong,” five days after she initially refused to condemn the move.
The Vatican, meanwhile, voiced “concern” over the ban and Trump’s executive orders to build a wall on the US-Mexican border and impose.
“Naturally, there is concern,” the Holy See’s number three, Monsignor Angelo Becciu, said.


Iran detains British-Iranian academic, New York-based rights group says

Updated 26 April 2018
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Iran detains British-Iranian academic, New York-based rights group says

BEIRUT: A British-Iranian academic was detained in Iran by the country’s Revolutionary Guards in mid-April, the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) reported on Wednesday.
Britain’s Foreign Office (FCO) said it was urgently seeking information from Iran about the reported arrest of Abbas Edalat, a dual British-Iranian national who is a professor of computer science at Imperial College in London.
CHRI said Edalat had traveled to Iran from his home in London at an unknown date for academic purposes. Quoting an unnamed source, it said the Guards had confiscated a computer, CDs and notebooks from Edalat when he was arrested.
A CHRI statement said Edalat’s family posted bail for him on April 21 but the Revolutionary Court in Tehran did not release him, citing problems with documentation.
CHRI did not specify what charges may have been brought against Edalat. The Iranian judiciary could not be reached for comment.
At least three other British-Iranian dual citizens are known to be held in the Islamic Republic.
“Iran’s continued arbitrary arrests of dual nationals without transparency and the denial of due process is extremely concerning,” CHRI executive director Hadi Ghaemi said in the release.
Edalat is a founder of the US-based Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII), an advocacy group that opposes foreign intervention in the Islamic Republic, according to CHRI.
The Revolutionary Guards have arrested at least 30 dual nationals since 2015, most for alleged espionage, Reuters reported in November.