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.


US reviews report of imports from forced labor in China camp

Updated 19 December 2018
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US reviews report of imports from forced labor in China camp

  • The US is reviewing reports of forced labor at a Chinese detention camp where ethnic minorities must give up their religion and language
  • Following reports, the US said that it had suspended business with the Chinese supplier and was investigating.

BEIJING: The US government said Tuesday that it is reviewing reports of forced labor at a Chinese detention camp where ethnic minorities must give up their religion and language and may be subject to political indoctrination.
US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that reporting by The Associated Press and other media “for the first time appears to link the internment camps identified in Western China to the importation of goods produced by forced labor by a US company.”
The AP tracked shipments from a factory in a detention camp in China’s Xinjiang region to Badger Sportswear in North Carolina. The company ships clothing to universities, colleges and schools around the United States.
Following the reports, Badger said that it had suspended business with the Chinese supplier and was investigating.
The Washington-based Workers Rights Consortium, which has agreements with many educational institutions to make sure the products they sell on campus are ethically manufactured, said that “forced labor of any kind is a severe violation of university codes of conduct.”
It’s against US law to import products of forced labor. Customs and Border Protection said it is part of its mission to enforce “both laws to protect individuals from forced labor and our Nation’s economy from businesses profiting from this form of modern slavery.”