Trump casts doubt over Iran nuclear deal after missile test

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally for Senator Luther Strange at the Von Braun Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S. on Friday. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 September 2017
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Trump casts doubt over Iran nuclear deal after missile test

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump gave a stark warning Saturday that cast growing uncertainty over whether a nuclear deal clinched with Iran would survive after the Islamic republic tested a new medium-range missile.
State television carried footage of the launch of the Khoramshahr missile, which was first displayed at a high-profile military parade in Tehran on Friday.
It also carried in-flight video from the nose cone of the missile, which has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and can carry multiple warheads.
“Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel.They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!” Trump tweeted.
The test comes at the end of a heated week of diplomacy at the UN General Assembly in New York, where US President Donald Trump again accused Iran of destabilizing the Middle East, calling it a “rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos.”
“As long as some speak in the language of threats, the strengthening of the country’s defense capabilities will continue and Iran will not seek permission from any country for producing various kinds of missile,” Defense Minister Amir Hatami said in a statement.
Previous Iranian missile launches have triggered US sanctions and accusations that they violate the spirit of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.
An “extremely concerned” French foreign ministry, warned the launch violated the United Nations Security Council resolution that endorsed the accord.
“France demands that Iran halt all destablizing activities in the region and to respect all provisions of Resolution 2231, including the call to halt this type of ballistic activity,” a statement read.
“France will consider ways, with its European and other partners, to get Iran to stop its destabilizing ballistic activities.”
Iran, which fought a war with neighboring Iraq in the 1980s, sees missiles as a legitimate and vital part of its defense — particularly as regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Israel import huge amounts of military hardware from the West.
Trump has threatened to bin the nuclear agreement altogether, saying Iran is developing missiles that may be used to deliver a nuclear warhead when the deal’s restrictions are lifted in 2025.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced the test as a “provocation” aimed at the United States and its allies, including the Jewish state.


Trump is due to report to Congress on October 15 on whether Iran is still complying with the deal and whether it remains in US interests to stick by it.
If he decides that it is not, that could open the way for US lawmakers to reimpose sanctions, leading to the potential collapse of the agreement.
Trump said Wednesday he had made his decision but was not yet ready to reveal it.
The other signatories to the deal — Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the European Union — have all pushed for it to continue.
They point out that abandoning the agreement will remove restrictions on Iran immediately — rather than in eight years’ time — and that the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Tehran is meeting its commitments.
Iran says all of its missiles are designed to carry conventional warheads only and has limited their range to a maximum of 2,000 kilometers, although commanders say they have the technology to go further.
That makes them only medium-range but still sufficient to reach Israel or US bases in the Gulf.
“The ballistic missile which Iran fired is a provocation of the United States and its allies, including Israel,” the Israeli defense minister said.
“It is also a means to test our reactions as well as new proof of Iran’s ambition to become a world power in order to threaten the countries of the Middle East and democratic states around the world.”
In addition to carrying out missile tests, Iran has also launched a space satellite and fired missiles at Daesh group targets in eastern Syria in recent months.


Half of Aquarius migrants ‘seek asylum in France’: Spanish govt

Updated 43 min 4 sec ago
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Half of Aquarius migrants ‘seek asylum in France’: Spanish govt

MADRID: Almost half of the 630 migrants that were rescued from the Mediterranean and arrived in Spain’s port of Valencia at the weekend want to seek asylum in France, the Spanish government said Monday.
The migrants arrived in Spain on Sunday in three vessels, including the rescue ship Aquarius, after being turned away by Italy and Malta last week.
“Almost half the migrants have shown their willingness to seek asylum in France, which offered to welcome some of the people traveling on the ship,” Spain’s new socialist government said in a statement.
The majority of the 630 migrants are from Africa, including 450 men and 80 women, of which at least seven are pregnant, as well as 89 adolescents and 11 children under the age of 13, according to the Valencia authorities.
The Aquarius, run by French charity SOS Mediterranee, rescued them off Libya’s coast on June 9 and Italy and Malta’s refusal to let the ship dock led to an international outcry before Spain stepped in to help.
Madrid on Saturday said it had accepted an offer from France — who had angered Rome by branding it irresponsible — to welcome Aquarius migrants who “meet the criteria for asylum.”
France will examine asylum requests from Aquarius migrants who want to come over from Spain on a “case-by-case basis,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said Sunday, adding it was “impossible” to know how many will arrive.


Pascal Brice, director-general of France’s refugee protection office Ofpra, told AFP that one of his teams would travel to Valencia soon.
“As soon as the Spanish authorities have informed us of the number of people concerned, a team from Ofpra will go on site to conduct the interviews and ensure that people are covered by the right to asylum,” he said, adding that the process should take place this week.
Local leaders on the French island of Corsica had offered to welcome the Aquarius, but the move was slapped down by the central government, which argued that under international law the ship had to dock at the closest port.
A majority of the French public, 56 percent, back the government’s decision, an opinion poll released Monday showed.
In Spain the migrants were granted authorization to remain in the country for 45 days while each individual’s legal case is studied.
Those who file a demand for asylum will be able to stay in the country while immigration services consider their request, a process that takes up to six months, said Paloma Favieres of the Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR).