US president trying to ‘kill’ nuclear deal, says Iranian foreign minister

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif. (AFP)
Updated 12 August 2017
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US president trying to ‘kill’ nuclear deal, says Iranian foreign minister

TEHRAN: Iran’s foreign minister has accused US President Donald Trump of trying to “kill” the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
Mohammed Javad Zarif said on his Twitter account on Friday that the US president “always wanted to kill” the deal that curbed Iran’s controversial nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
Zarif says Trump is the one to blame and that the US “violated the letter and the spirit” of the nuclear agreement.
Trump has repeatedly described the nuclear deal as “bad” and has signed a bill imposing mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them.
Zarif earlier said the Trump administration is trying to “poison the international atmosphere” with the sanctions, which Zarif deemed illegal.
Iran to buy 48 helicopters
Iran is holding talks with European planemaker Airbus to buy 48 helicopters for civilian use, an Iranian official was on Saturday quoted as saying, as Iran continues its shopping spree of Western aircraft after the lifting of sanctions.
“The Health Ministry is planning to order 45 HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) helicopters and the purchase is being negotiated by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development,” Iran’s Financial Tribune daily quoted Deputy Minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan as saying.
“Ports and Maritime Organization is also planning to hold a tender to purchase three search-and-rescue helicopters,” he added.
An Airbus Helicopters spokesman said: “We don’t comment on discussions we may or may not be having with potential customers.”
Iran has ordered more than 200 planes since international sanctions against the country were lifted last year in return for curbs on the country’s nuclear activities.
Flag-carrier IranAir has ordered 100 planes from Airbus, 80 from US rival Boeing (BA.N) and 20 ATR turboprops, but implementing the deals has been hampered by uncertainty over financing.
In June, Airbus said two other Iranian airlines had committed to buying 73 planes in a last-minute flurry of deals for the aircraft manufacturer at the Paris Airshow.
Fakhrieh-Kashan said Iran was holding negotiations to merge the helicopter order into the IranAir-Airbus contract signed in December, Financial Tribune reported.


Israel warns Syrians away from frontier as Assad closes in

Updated 42 min 51 sec ago
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Israel warns Syrians away from frontier as Assad closes in

  • The Syrians who approached the fence were 200 meters away, when an Israeli soldier told them to leave
  • The crowd, which included women and children, then walked back slowly toward the refugee encampment

GOLAN HEIGHTS: Dozens of Syrians approached the Israeli frontier on the Golan Heights on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to seek help or sanctuary from a Russian-backed Syrian army offensive, before turning back after a warning from Israeli forces.
Tens of thousands of Syrians have arrived near the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in the past month, fleeing a rapidly advancing offensive which has defeated rebels across a swathe of territory near Jordan and Israel.
“Go back before something bad happens. If you want us to be able to help you, go back,” an Israeli army officer on the Israeli side of a frontier fence told the crowd in Arabic through a megaphone. “Get a move on.”
The offensive has triggered the single biggest displacement of the war, with several hundred thousand people uprooted. Both Israel and Jordan have said they will not allow Syrians to cross into their territory.
Israel, which seized the Golan in the 1967 Middle East War, has given humanitarian aid to refugees in encampments close to a 1974 Israeli-Syrian disengagement line. Many of the displaced are sheltering within the disengagement zone that is monitored by a UN force.
The Syrians who approached the frontier fence stopped some 200 meters (yards) away, before an Israeli soldier told them to leave.
“You are on the border of the State of Israel. Go back, we don’t want to hurt you,” the soldier shouted in Arabic through a loudspeaker at the crowd, live Reuters TV footage showed.
The crowd, which included women and children, then walked back slowly toward the refugee encampment. Some stopped mid-way and waved white cloths in the direction of the Israeli frontier.
The Russian-backed offensive has advanced swiftly, unopposed by President Bashar Assad’s foreign adversaries. The United States, which once armed the southern rebels, told them not to expect it to intervene as the attack got underway last month.
A witness on the Syrian side of the Golan frontier said the sound of bombardment was drawing ever nearer. The United Nations said last week up to 160,000 Syrians had fled to Quneitra province, some in close proximity to the Golan area.

Government forces celebrate
Israel has threatened a harsh response to any attempt by Syrian forces to deploy in the disengagement zone, complicating the government offensive as it draws closer to the frontier.
Israel does not want its enemies Iran and Hezbollah, both allies of Assad, to move forces near its border.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking alongside US President Donald Trump on Monday, cited the need to restore the situation along the Golan borders to the state that prevailed before the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011.
At least 14 people, including five children and some women, were killed when Syrian government forces dropped a barrel bomb on the village of Ain Al-Tineh 10 km (6 miles) from the Golan frontier, according to UOSSM, a medical aid charity that operates in the area.
Ahmad Al-Dbis, UOSSM safety and security manager, said another 35 people had been wounded in the attack which he said had hit a school. The casualties had fled to the village from nearby parts of the southwest.
Syrian state TV broadcast from a hilltop captured from rebels on Monday and overlooking the Golan frontier. Government fighters waved rifles and held aloft pictures of Assad as they celebrated on camera from the location, Al-Haara hill.
“We will liberate all Syria,” said one of the soldiers.