Iran foreign minister ridicules Trump ‘blunder’ at UN

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a meeting of Foreign Ministers during the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. (AP)
Updated 06 January 2018
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Iran foreign minister ridicules Trump ‘blunder’ at UN

TEHRAN: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ridiculed US President Donald Trump on Saturday over what he called the foreign policy “blunder” of trying to raise its recent protests at the UN Security Council.
The Security Council “rebuffed the US’ naked attempt to hijack its mandate,” wrote Zarif on Twitter.
“Majority emphasised the need to fully implement the JCPOA (nuclear deal) and to refrain from interfering in internal affairs of others. Another FP (foreign policy) blunder for the Trump administration.”
The United States had pushed for the UN meeting on Friday to discuss the five days of protests that hit Iran last week, leading to the deaths of 21 people and hundreds of arrests.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley argued the unrest could escalate into full-blown conflict and drew a comparison with Syria.
“The Iranian regime is now on notice: the world will be watching what you do,” Haley warned.
But Russia’s envoy shot back that if the US view holds, the council should have also discussed the 2014 unrest in the US suburb of Ferguson, Missouri over the police shooting of a black teenager or the US crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Britain and France reiterated that Iran must respect the rights of protesters, but French Ambassador Francois Delattre said the “events of the past days do not constitute a threat to peace and international security.”
China also described the meeting as meddling in Iran’s affairs, while Ethiopia, Kuwait and Sweden expressed reservations about the discussion.
Iran’s Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo slammed the meeting as a “farce” and a “waste of time” and said the council should instead focus on addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the war in Yemen.
Iranian authorities have declared the unrest over, and held three days of large pro-government rallies across the country between Wednesday and Friday.
Iran signed a nuclear deal with the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China in 2015, easing sanctions in exchange for curbs to the country’s nuclear program.
US President Donald Trump has fiercely opposed the deal, but the other signatories remain firmly behind it.
Trump must decide every few months whether to continue waiving nuclear sanctions, with the next deadline due on Friday.
Analysts say there is a chance he may use the latest unrest as a pretext to reimpose sanctions.


Parts of US Midwest deluged in historic deadly floods

Horses that were being boarded in Inglewood, Neb., are moved through floodwaters to higher ground in Fremont Neb., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP)
Updated 4 min 53 sec ago
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Parts of US Midwest deluged in historic deadly floods

  • Record flooding was reported in 17 locations in the state and 10 American Red Cross shelters were operating for displaced residents

CHICAGO: The US Midwest struggled Monday with historic flooding that claimed at least three lives, displaced residents and damaged hundreds of homes and businesses.
Swollen waters hit much of Nebraska, as well as parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, and South Dakota, after a major storm last week dumped snow and rain, even as melting snow was already raising the levels of area waterways.
Neighboring states could also be affected as floodwaters drain, officials said.
President Donald Trump on Monday described the floods as “devastating” and said the White House would remain in close contact with state officials.
“Our prayers are with the great people of South Dakota,” he said in one tweet.
In another aimed at Iowa residents, he said: “We support you and thank all of the first responders working long hours to help the great people of Iowa!“

The National Weather Service (NWS) described the flooding as “major” and “historic,” forecasting that it would continue across large sections of the middle of the country.
“Flood Warnings and Adviseries are scattered throughout the Plains, Mississippi Valley, and western parts of the Ohio Valley region, with a focus in Nebraska and western Iowa,” the NWS said in an advisory.
“Farther west and north, areal flooding is also possible in the Northwest and Northern Plains as snowmelt continues over frozen ground.”
The early damage assessment total for the state of Nebraska was more than $260 million, according to emergency management officials.
Record flooding was reported in 17 locations in the state and 10 American Red Cross shelters were operating for displaced residents.
At its highest point, the Missouri River was expected to crest at 47.5 feet (14.5 meters), beating its 2011 record by more than one foot.
“Comparisons to 2011 were inevitable,” the NWS office in Iowa tweeted, “but these floods have resulted in many more rescues and widespread damage in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.”
Failing levees were blamed for flooding in numerous communities — damaging homes and businesses.
The US Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains federal levee systems, said a majority were compromised along an approximately 100-mile portion of the Missouri River in southeast Nebraska.

Hundreds of people were rescued in Nebraska, where 54 cities issued emergency declarations, as did four Native American tribal areas.
Fremont, a city of more than 25,000, was surrounded by floodwaters over the weekend and cut off from aid.
It finally received food and other emergency supplies Sunday after crews managed to clear debris and mud from a road, officials said.
Three dozen Iowa counties were under states of emergency.
Roads were closed throughout Wisconsin and more than 200 people were evacuated, according to officials.
A third of Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska was overcome with floodwater, and was not expected to be dry again until Thursday.
“It’s important to understand that this is going to take weeks and months to recover so this will be a prolonged effort,” one of the base’s leaders, Kevin Humphrey, said in a statement.
Three people were reported killed.
A Nebraska farmer died Thursday, during the height of the storm, trying to rescue a motorist stranded by floodwaters, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
On the same day, 80-year-old Betty Hamernik died after being trapped by floodwaters in her home in rural Columbus, Nebraska, according to the newspaper.
Aleido Rojas Galan, 55, was killed Friday in Iowa when his vehicle was swept away by floodwaters, TV station KETV said.