Trump tipped to extend sanctions relief for Iran

Trump is likely to pair his decision to renew the concessions with new, targeted sanctions against Iranian businesses and people, AP reported. (AP)
Updated 11 January 2018
0

Trump tipped to extend sanctions relief for Iran

NEW YORK: US President Donald Trump is expected to extend sanctions relief for Iran this week as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, amid widespread speculation about whether he would kick-start a process that would see the accord unravel.

The Associated Press cited unnamed administration officials saying lawmakers had made progress in amending US legislation that governs Washington’s participation in the landmark agreement, allowing Trump to extend relief from economic sanctions to Tehran.

Trump is likely to pair his decision to renew the concessions with new, targeted sanctions against Iranian businesses and people, including some firms and individuals whose sanctions were ditched under the 2015 agreement, the officials said.

The six sources, who were not allowed to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity, said Trump could still reject the recommendation from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other top aides and that no final decision had been made.

Trump must decide by Friday whether to extend the nuclear-related sanctions relief for Iran’s central bank or reimpose the restrictions that former President Barack Obama suspended two years ago, which largely cut Iran out of the global financial system.

AP’s sources said Trump’s top national security aides appear to have successfully persuaded him to waive anew for 120 days the nuclear-linked sanctions while also imposing new curbs to punish Iran over weapons, alleged terrorism and human-rights abuses.

Such a balance may satisfy Trump’s demand to raise pressure on Iran, while not embarking on a frontal assault on the most central trade-offs of the 2015 accord, which the president has blasted as the “worst deal ever”.

Aaron David Miller, a former US State Department adviser, said Trump had talked tough against Iran but was actually “risk averse” when dealing with the regime and would likely take the safer course over waiving sanctions relief.

“All of this talk about putting Iran on notice in the region simply has not materialized; in Syria, Iraq … it’s actually been quite restrained,” Miller, from The Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank, told Arab News.

“The most likely course of action will be tougher sanctions on human rights-related issues but to give the agreement more time.”

Suzanne Maloney, a former US State Department adviser on Iran, said Trump likely feels vindicated in his hostility to Iran by the eruption of nationwide anti-government protests across the Islamic republic at the end of December.

Trump’s chief objection to the Obama-era deal was not its technical shortcomings, but that it was a “bargain with a fundamentally evil entity, and that kind of a bargain can never succeed and only strengthens evil,” Maloney told Arab News.

“The real challenge for the US is not to constrain certain aspects of Iran’s behavior, but to see a wholesale transformation of the regime itself. Now Trump has seen young Iranians on the street calling for something that at least parallels that, he may push back on the course of prudence, which would be to give the deal another three months,” she added.


Rohingya Muslim group fleeing India to Bangladesh stuck on ‘zero line’

Updated 22 min 9 sec ago
0

Rohingya Muslim group fleeing India to Bangladesh stuck on ‘zero line’

  • The stranded Rohingya, including women and children, had been living in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir
  • Many hundreds of thousands of members of mostly Buddhist Myanmar’s Rohingya community have left their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine Sate

DHAKA: Bangladesh has denied entry to 31 Rohingya Muslims trying to enter from India and they are stuck in no-man’s land on the border, Bangladesh authorities said on Monday, as India cracks down on members of the community.
The stranded Rohingya, including women and children, had been living in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, according to a Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) official who said he had seen some of their identity cards issued by the UN refugee agency in India.
The 31 had been stuck on Bangladesh’s border with northeast India since Friday, said the BGB commander in the area, Golam Kabir.
“We stopped them as they were crossing the border,” Kabir told Reuters by telephone.
“They’ve been on the zero line since the 18th of this month,” he said, referring to the border.
Two rounds of talks on what to do with the 31, with India’s Border Security Force on Sunday, had “ended without any conclusive decision,” Kabir said.
Many hundreds of thousands of members of mostly Buddhist Myanmar’s Rohingya community have left their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine Sate over the decades, most fleeing military crackdowns and discrimination.
Many have sought shelter in Bangladesh — where nearly 1 million live — but others have ended up in India, Southeast Asia and beyond.
An Indian border force officer in Tripura state told reporters on Sunday that they were providing food and clothing to the Rohingya, 16 of whom were children.
The force could not be reached for comment on Monday.
India estimates that 40,000 Rohingya are living in scattered settlements in various parts of the country.
But its Hindu nationalist government regards them as illegal aliens and a security threat, and has ordered that they be identified and repatriated.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has issued about 16,500 Rohingya in India with identity cards that it says can help “prevent harassment, arbitrary arrests, detention and deportation.” India does not recognize the cards.
Hundreds of Rohingya families have left India for Bangladesh since seven Rohingya men were deported to Myanmar in October. This month, India sent a Rohingya family of five to Myanmar.
The United Nations says conditions are not conducive for Rohingya to return to Myanmar.
In August, the United Nations accused the Myanmar military of mass killings and rapes of Rohingya with “genocidal intent” in a 2017 military operation that drove more than 700,000 of them into Bangladesh, according to UN agencies.
Myanmar has denied the accusations, saying its military launched a counter-insurgency operation after attacks on security posts by Muslim terrorists.