‘Negative consequences’ if Trump quits Iran deal: Kremlin

In this photo, pedestrians and motorcycles share a road in downtown Tehran, Iran. As U.S. President Donald Trump threatens the Iran nuclear deal, those living in Tehran feel that an accord they have yet to benefit from may already be doomed, hardening their skepticism about America. Trump is set to deliver a speech on Iran this week in which he is expected to decline to certify Iran's compliance in the landmark 2015 agreement. (AP)
Updated 09 October 2017
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‘Negative consequences’ if Trump quits Iran deal: Kremlin

MOSCOW: Moscow warned on Monday there would be “negative consequences” if US President Donald Trump fails to uphold the landmark Iran nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor.
Trump has said Tehran is living up to the “spirit” of the agreement.
He is a fierce critic of the 2015 accord, which he has called “the worst deal ever,” and US officials say he intends to tell Congress next week that Tehran is not honoring its side of the bargain.
“Obviously if one country leaves the deal, especially such a key country as the US, then that will have negative consequences,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said.
“We can only try to predict the nature of these consequences, which we are doing now,” Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
Putin has repeatedly hailed the importance of the existing deal, he added.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the nuclear deal was a good example of how to solve something peacefully through talks.
The agreement had played a positive and important role in ensuring nuclear non-proliferation and protecting peace and stability in the Middle East, she added.
“We hope that the comprehensive Iran nuclear agreement can continue to be earnestly implemented,” Hua told a daily news briefing.
The Chinese remarks came as UN atomic agency chief affirmed Iran’s commitment to the nuclear deal.
“I can state that the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the (nuclear agreement) are being implemented,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said in prepared remarks during a conference in Rome.
An IAEA report released last month had also affirmed Iran’s compliance with the program, which froze some of Tehran’s nuclear activities.
Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium — used for peaceful purposes, but when further processed for a weapon — did not exceed the agreed limit of 300 kg, the report said.
It added that Iran “has not pursued the construction of the Arak... reactor” — which could give it weapons-grade plutonium — and has not enriched uranium above low purity levels.
The EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said Iran’s compliance with the accord had been verified on at least eight separate occasions.
It is time to “invest in international cooperation” and “open new channels and not destroy the ones we already have,” she said by video conference.
It is “certainly not the time to dismantle them.”
Faced with the growing threat from North Korea, “we cannot afford to open a new front,” Mogherini added.
Trump is expected to announce that he is “decertifying” Iran’s compliance with the agreement it signed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
US officials insist this will not sink the deal itself but open the way for Congress to possibly develop new measures to punish other aspects of Iran’s behavior.
Resumed sanctions could derail the accord negotiated with Tehran by former president Barack Obama and other major world powers.
Congress requires the president to certify Iranian compliance with the deal every 90 days. The next certification date is Oct. 15.
Under the law, Congress would then have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions lifted by the deal.
The landmark deal was signed in July 2015 by Iran and five permanent members of the UN Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) plus Germany — establishing controls to prevent Tehran from developing an atomic bomb.


Bill Cosby convicted of drugging and molesting a woman

Updated 26 April 2018
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Bill Cosby convicted of drugging and molesting a woman

NORRISTOWN-PENNSILVANIA: Bill Cosby was convicted Thursday of drugging and molesting a woman in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era,
completing the spectacular late-life downfall of a comedian who broke racial barriers in Hollywood on his way to TV superstardom as America’s Dad.
Cosby, 80, could end up spending his final years in prison after a jury concluded he sexually violated Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He claimed the encounter was consensual.
Cosby stared straight ahead as the verdict was read, but moments later lashed out loudly at District Attorney Kevin Steele and called him an “a--hole” after the prosecutor asked that Cosby be immediately jailed because he might flee. Cosby denied he has an airplane and shouted, “I’m sick of him!“
The judge decided Cosby can remain free on bail while he awaits sentencing.
Shrieks erupted in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, and some of his accusers whimpered and cried. Constand remained stoic, then hugged her lawyer and members of the prosecution team.
“Justice has been done!” celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who represented some of Cosby’s accusers, said on the courthouse steps. “We are so happy that finally we can say women are believed.”
The verdict came after a two-week retrial in which prosecutors put five other women on the stand who testified that Cosby, married for 54 years, drugged and violated them, too. One of those women asked him through her tears, “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?“
The panel of seven men and five women reached a verdict after deliberating 14 hours over two days, vindicating prosecutors’ decision to retry Cosby after his first trial ended with a hung jury less than a year ago.
Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He is likely to get less than that under state sentencing guidelines, but given his age, even a modest term could mean he will die behind bars.
Constand, 45, a former Temple women’s basketball administrator, told jurors that Cosby knocked her out with three blue pills he called “your friends” and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilized, unable to resist or say no.
It was the only criminal case to arise from a barrage of allegations from more than 60 women who said the former TV star drugged and molested them over a span of five decades.
“The time for the defendant to escape justice is over,” prosecutor Stewart Ryan said in his closing argument. “It’s finally time for the defendant to dine on the banquet of his own consequences.”
Another prosecutor, Kristen Feden, said Cosby was “nothing like the image that he played on TV” as sweater-wearing, wisdom-dispensing father of five Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.”