Russia’s Lavrov calls on US to ‘recognize reality’ on Iran

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during his annual news conference, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova seen in the background, in Moscow, Russia on Monday. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 January 2018
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Russia’s Lavrov calls on US to ‘recognize reality’ on Iran

MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday called on Washington to “recognize reality” on the Iran nuclear deal after US President Donald Trump demanded tough new measures to keep the agreement alive.
“We will continue to work with the aim of the United States recognizing reality,” Lavrov said at at an annual press conference in Moscow on Monday.
He added that US statements to end the deal “do not add optimism or stability.”
Lavrov said the past year had not been easy from a foreign policy perspective as he took questions on Syria, Ukraine, the Korean peninsula and other global issues, in a diplomatic round-up of 2017.
On Friday, Trump said Washington will not reimpose nuclear sanctions on Iran for the moment, but would withdraw later this year unless the terms of the deal are changed.
“(The Americans) resort to methods that are, largely, questionable and unscrupulous, in order to contain their competitors,” Lavrov said.
Trump called on European partners to work with the US to “fix the deal’s disastrous flaws.”
Lavrov said it was “hard to say” what position European countries will have.
“They are starting to somehow, I believe, call on looking for compromises. This will be a slippery slope in a very dangerous direction,” he said.
Russia’s chief diplomat went on to warn that a withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal will have a negative effect on the North Korea crisis.
“If Kim Jong-Un is required to stop (North Korea’s) nuclear military program and, in exchange, is promised sanctions will be lifted then this is precisely the essence of the agreements between the world community and Iran,” Lavrov said.
“If this arrangement is taken away and Iran is told: You remain within the framework of your obligations and we will reimpose sanctions — then put yourself in North Korea’s place,” he added.
Lavrov also said threats coming from Washington in 2017 had “seriously aggravated” tensions not only in North Korea but in different parts of the world as well.
Under the hard-won 2015 deal with Russia, the US, China, France, Britain, Germany and the EU, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for lifting a raft of international sanctions. America’s allies see the accord as the best way to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions and as a victory for diplomacy.
Iran on Saturday rejected any modification of the deal after Trump’s comments.


Syrian businessman linked to Assad arrested in Kuwait

Mazen Al-Tarazi has been living in Kuwait for a long while. (AFP/File)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Syrian businessman linked to Assad arrested in Kuwait

  • The businessman has a publishing and advertising company in Kuwait
  • He is blacklisted in the EU

KUWAIT CITY: A prominent Syrian businessman with close ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad has been arrested in Kuwait, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Mazen Al-Tarazi was arrested late Monday at his offices, his lawyer Badr Al-Yacoub told AFP.
He said that he did not yet know the reasons behind his client’s arrest.
Local authorities did not immediately release the charges against Tarazi.
But Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, citing unnamed informed sources, reported that the businessman is accused of money laundering and printing texts without authorization.
A longtime resident of Kuwait, Tarazi owns a publishing and advertising firm in partnership with a high-profile local businessman, Ahmad Al-Jarallah.
Jarallah confirmed to AFP that police had raided his offices on Monday night and arrested Tarazi’s secretary and two Al-Hadaf magazine employees.
Tarazi is on an EU blacklist of Syrian nationals who have been banned from entry to European states and whose assets have been frozen over their role in the Syria war.