US seeks to boost case against Iran with UN envoys’ Washington visit

Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, addresses a recent gathering at the UN headquarters in New York. (AFP(
Updated 27 January 2018
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US seeks to boost case against Iran with UN envoys’ Washington visit

NEW YORK: The US will seek to boost its case for UN action against Iran when Security Council envoys visit Washington on Monday to view pieces of weapons that US Ambassador Nikki Haley says Tehran gave to Yemen’s Houthi group.
Haley and her 14 council colleagues will also lunch with President Donald Trump, the US Mission to the UN said.
The Trump administration has for months been lobbying for Iran to be held accountable at the UN, while at the same time threatening to quit a 2015 deal among world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program if “disastrous flaws” are not fixed.
The UN ambassadors will visit a military hangar at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling near Washington, where Haley, the US envoy to the UN, last month presented remnants of what the Pentagon said was an Iranian-made ballistic missile fired from Yemen on Nov. 4 at Riyadh, as well as other weapons.
Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with such weaponry and described the arms displayed in Washington as “fabricated.”
However, experts reported to the Security Council this month that Iran had violated UN sanctions on Yemen because “it failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” of short-range ballistic missiles and other equipment to the Iran-allied Houthi group.
The independent experts said they had “identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were introduced into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo.”
Haley said last month she was exploring several UN options for pressuring Iran to “adjust their behavior.”
But she is likely to struggle to convince some Security Council members, like veto powers Russia and China, that UN action is needed.
Most sanctions on Iran were lifted at the start of 2016 under the nuclear deal, which is enshrined in a UN Security Council resolution. The resolution still subjects Tehran to a UN arms embargo and other restrictions that are technically not part of the nuclear deal.
Haley has said the Security Council could strengthen the provisions in that resolution or adopt a new resolution banning Iran from all activities related to ballistic missiles. To pass, a resolution needs nine votes in favor, and no vetoes by the US, Britain, France, China or Russia.
Under the current resolution, Iran is “called upon” to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years. Some states argue that the language of the resolution does not make it obligatory.
A separate UN resolution on Yemen bans the supply of weapons to Houthi leaders and “those acting on their behalf or at their direction.”
The US could propose people or entities to be blacklisted by the council’s Yemen sanctions committee, a closed-door move that would need consensus approval by the 15-members.
Diplomats say Haley has not signaled which accountability option she might pursue or when.


Attack on Egyptian expat in Kuwait sparks diplomatic row

Updated 15 November 2018
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Attack on Egyptian expat in Kuwait sparks diplomatic row

  • Egyptian lawyer calls for the arrest of Kuwaiti MP who condemned comments from minister over attack
  • Fatma Aziz says she was injured after she was attacked by a group of Kuwaiti women

CAIRO: An attack on an Egyptian woman living in Kuwait has spiralled into a war of words between politicians from the two countries.

Fatma Aziz, an Egyptian expatriate, said she was verbally and physically attacked by a Kuwaiti woman and four others after she complained that they had hit her child with their bikes. 

In a video posted last week, Aziz described how the woman shoved her to the ground and stepped on her face leaving her with a broken finger, torn hair and bruises.

Nabila Makram, Egypt’s Minister of Immigration and Foreign Affairs, responded to the attack, saying: “The dignity of Egyptian citizens and Egyptian women in specific is a red line. However, we respect Kuwaiti authorities and judiciary.”

But her comments drew the ire of Kuwaiti MP Safa Al-Hashem, who sent a barbed tweet on Makram’s direction.

“Dear Minister of Immigration or Minister of Dignity, as long as you respect the Kuwaiti authority and the Kuwaiti judiciary, it is better for you not to address the issue of dignity nor play on people’s emotions,” she said.

“There is no need to gain political and media attention by inciting fear. We treat people with more dignity than their own country.”

The Kuwaiti MPs response sparked anger in Egypt, where the attack is now being investigated by the authorities.

The Egyptian Hama party said the way Al-Hashem has spoken about Egyptian expats was unacceptable.

“She does not represent the people of Kuwait," the statement said, adding that the Kuwaiti people "respect the Egyptian state.”

The attack and ensuing row has been closely followed by the more than half a million Egyptian expats working in Kuwait.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said on Monday it was investigating the attack. 

Khaled Yusri Rizk, Assistant Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs and Egyptians abroad, said the Egyptian consulate in Kuwait contacted Aziz.

Egyptian lawyer Amr Abdel Salam submitted a report on the attack to the Attorney General, Nabil Sadiq. The lawyer said Al-Hashem had “insulted an Egyptian public servant” and insulted the Egyptian authorities. 

He urged the Attorney General to take the necessary measures with Kuwait, Interpol and Egyptian ports and airports to arrest Al-Hashem.

“Al-Hashem has provoked the anger of the Egyptian masses through social networking sites, which led to the escalation of public disharmony and damage to the public interest of the Egyptian state,” Salam said.

He said these were criminal offences punishable by imprisonment.

The Kuwaiti MP’s attack on Egypt was also condemned in Kuwait.  

Media personality Aisha Al-Rashed said the Egyptian ambassador to Egypt did not say anything that hurts the people of Kuwait, insisting that Al-Hashem does not represent Kuwaitis.