Brexit vote may be reversed, says British campaigner Farage

Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage arrives for a meeting with European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (unseen) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Jan. 8, 2018. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)
Updated 14 January 2018
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Brexit vote may be reversed, says British campaigner Farage

LONDON: Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said on Sunday he was increasingly concerned that a vote for Britain to leave the European Union could be overturned by a powerful group of the bloc’s supporters.
In an interview with Britain’s Observer newspaper, Farage, former head of the euroskeptic UK Independence Party, said a well-organized and funded group of campaigners that wants to remain in the EU was drowning out those who want to leave.
“The Remain side are making all the running,” said Farage. “They have a majority in parliament, and unless we get ourselves organized we could lose the historic victory that was Brexit.”
Last week, Farage said he was warming to the idea of holding a second vote on Britain’s membership of the EU to settle the argument — an idea written off by other Brexit campaigners who urged the government to press on with exit talks with the bloc.
In 2016, Britons voted 52 to 48 percent in favor of ending its membership of the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out a second referendum, saying her government was seeking an amicable divorce with the EU which will safeguard the economy and enable Britain to secure trade deals with other countries.
But some Brexit campaigners fear her approach has led to the watering down of several of their demands, including the ability to reduce immigration and to reclaim sovereignty by leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
Several pro-EU campaigners say the need for a second referendum has become more pressing because public opinion is showing some signs of turning against Brexit as the difficulty of negotiations to leave the bloc becomes increasingly clear.
On Thursday, a ComRes poll for the Daily Mirror newspaper of 1,049 adults showed that although more people think there should not be a second referendum (51 to 43 percent), if there were to be a re-run, voters say they would opt to stay in the EU by 55 to 45 percent.


UK warns dual nationals over travel to Iran, as France holds on envoy nomination

Updated 19 September 2018
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UK warns dual nationals over travel to Iran, as France holds on envoy nomination

  • Britain is seeking the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation who was arrested in April 2016
  • France will not name a new ambassador to Tehran before getting information from Iran following a foiled plot to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in Paris in June

LONDON: Britain on Wednesday advised British-Iranian dual nationals against all but essential travel to Iran, tightening up its existing travel advice and warning it has only limited powers to support them if detained.

The advisory came in tandem with France’s decision to hold off on appointing a new ambassador to Iran, as it seeks clarification over an attempt to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in Paris in June

“The Foreign Secretary (Jeremy Hunt) has taken the decision to advise against all but essential travel by UK-Iranian dual nationals to Iran,” a foreign office spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
“British citizens who also hold Iranian nationality face risks if they travel to Iran, as we have seen all too sadly in a number of cases. The Iranian government does not recognize dual nationality, so if a dual national is detained our ability to provide support is extremely limited.”
Earlier this month Britain’s Middle East minister Alistair Burt used a visit to Iran to discuss cases of detained dual nationals, alongside other diplomatic issues.
Britain is seeking the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation who was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter, now aged four, after a family visit.
She was convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment, a charge denied by her family and the Foundation, a charity organization that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News.
Meanwhile, France will not name a new ambassador to Tehran before getting information from Iran following a foiled plot to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in Paris last June, French officials said on Wednesday.
An Iranian diplomat based in Austria and three other people were arrested on suspicion of plotting the attack on a meeting of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Iran has said it had nothing to do with the plot, which it called a “false flag” operation staged by figures within the opposition group itself.
The incident has hit relations just as France and its European partners are seeking to salvage a 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers.
France’s ambassador to Iran departed in the summer. Iran has also yet to replace its departed ambassador to Paris.
“We have a charge d’affaires today in Tehran and there is a high-level dialogue between French and Iranian authorities,” said a French presidential source.
“We are working together to bring to light what happened around this event ... I wouldn’t say there is a direct link (in not appointing an ambassador), but Iran has promised to give us objective facts in the coming weeks that would allow us to pursue our diplomatic relationship as it is today.”
A French diplomatic source said the nomination had indeed been suspended as a result of the alleged plot.
France’s Foreign Ministry in August told its diplomats and officials to postpone non-essential travel to Iran indefinitely, citing the plot and a hardening of Tehran’s attitude toward France, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
President Emmanuel Macron is likely to discuss the issue with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when they meet on Sept. 25 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the source said.
Along with Britain and Germany, France is trying save a 2015 agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, which was thrown into disarray when US President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord in May and re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran.
Even so, tensions between Paris and Tehran have grown in recent months as Macron and his government have become increasingly frustrated with Iran’s activities in the Middle East region, in particular its ballistic missile program.