Trump moves toward sanctions over Iran protests

Donald Trump’s administration is mulling targeted sanctions as well as working with international partners to censure Tehran over it’s crackdown on protesters. (AP Photo)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Trump moves toward sanctions over Iran protests

NEW YORK: US president Donald Trump’s administration is considering slapping sanctions on Iranian individuals who are behind a crackdown on protesters in the biggest wave of anti-government anger Iran has seen since widespread rallies in 2009.
In an interview with the state-backed broadcaster VOA (Voice of America), deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran, Andrew Peek, said Washington was mulling targeted sanctions as well as working with international partners to censure Tehran.
“For our part, we will hold accountable those people or entities who are committing violence, from the top to the bottom, against the protesters,” Peek said. “That involves examining actions we can take against those individuals, like sanctions and other means.”
Trump has used Twitter to warn he is “watching” events in the Islamic Republic, where the security services are cracking down on a wave of protests against rising prices, corruption and Iran’s costly military interventions in Syria and Yemen.
“The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime,” Trump tweeted to his 45.6 million followers on Tuesday, before blasting the nuclear deal his predecessor, Barack Obama, brokered with Tehran in 2015.
“All of the money that president Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their ‘pockets.’ The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights.”
As many as 22 people have died in clashes between protesters and security forces since a wave of anti-government protests began on Thursday in the city of Mashhad, and have since spread across the country and to the capital, Tehran.
Speaking to reporters at the UN on Tuesday, US ambassador Nikki Haley said Washington was not planning any unilateral action but called for meetings of the UN Security Council and the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“This is the precise picture of a long-oppressed people rising up against their dictators. The international community has a role to play in this. The freedoms that are enshrined in the United Nations charter are under attack in Iran,” she said.
The rallies are a rare public display of ire against a political elite that has kept a tight grip on power since the 1979 revolution against the pro-Western Shah.
The threat of US sanctions comes ahead of a congressional deadline Trump faces this month on whether to continue waiving sanctions that were frozen under the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers.
Last year, Trump declined to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal, but Congress did not act on a provision allowing lawmakers to reimpose the nuclear-related curbs within 60 days. Trump can also impose new sanctions, unrelated to the accord.


Prince Charles visits UK site of nerve agent attack

Updated 11 min 9 sec ago
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Prince Charles visits UK site of nerve agent attack

  • Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited Salisbury on Friday to support the city as it tries to recover from the impact of this year’s poison attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter.
  • Visitor numbers have fallen since Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in March.

SALISBURY: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited Salisbury on Friday to support the city as it tries to recover from the impact of this year’s poison attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter.
They visited businesses and met local residents before attending a reception for those most closely involved in trying to restore the city’s tourist trade.
Visitor numbers have fallen since Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in March.
They had been poisoned with a Cold War era nerve agent for which the government blamed Russia, plunging bilateral relations to a new low, although the Kremlin denied any involvement.
Charles and Camilla also held a private meeting with Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey who fell ill after coming into contact with the Novichok nerve agent after trying to help the Skripals.
For weeks, the predominant images coming from this elegant southern city were not those of England’s tallest cathedral spire but of police roadblocks and cordoned-off streets as investigators in hazchem suits swept the area.
Re-stimulating tourism in Salisbury has been a priority after visitor numbers fell some 20 percent. Nine businesses folded as a result of the incident, on top of a reduced footfall of up to 80 percent in the immediate vicinity of the poisoning.
Sergei Skripal, 66, was part of a spy swap between Russia and Britain in 2010 and had since made Salisbury his home. He was released from hospital last month after spending weeks in an induced coma.
Yulia Skripal, 33, left hospital in April and spoke last month to Reuters, outlining her desire to return to Russia in the future despite the poisoning.
“My life has been turned upside down,” she said.