Russia, China to stop bid to ‘sabotage’ Iran deal: Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi exchange documents in Beijing's Great Hall of the People in 2016. (File/AFP)
Updated 24 April 2018
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Russia, China to stop bid to ‘sabotage’ Iran deal: Lavrov

  • Russian FM: Iran agreement “one of the biggest achievements in international diplomacy in recent times"
  • Trump has threatened to abandon the accord unless European capitals agree to supplement it with tougher controls on Iran’s missile program

BEIJING: China and Russia will block any attempts to “sabotage” the Iran nuclear agreement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday, as US President Donald Trump mulls whether to scrap the deal.

Trump has set a May 12 deadline to “fix” the 2015 accord, which curbs Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief and was the fruit of intense diplomacy involving the US, European powers, Russia and China.

“There are attempts to interfere with the international order upon which the United Nations depends,” Lavrov said after talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing.

“We said clearly with China that we will stop attempts to sabotage these agreements that were passed in a UN Security Council resolution,” Lavrov said.

He was speaking on the eve of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security bloc spearheaded by Moscow and Beijing.

Calling the Iran agreement “one of the biggest achievements in international diplomacy in recent times,” Lavrov said that “revising this document is unacceptable.”

Trump has threatened to abandon the accord unless European capitals agree to supplement it with tougher controls on Iran’s missile program and its future ability to enrich nuclear fuel.

His partners maintain that implementation of the agreement under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best way to prevent Tehran from seeking an atomic bomb.

Iran warned Saturday it was ready to “vigorously” resume nuclear enrichment if the US ditches the deal.

 

Putin visit

Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart also discussed an upcoming visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to China. Putin will travel to China in June and his visit will be in connection with a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Lavrov said.

“Today we focused on preparations for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to China,” Lavrov said during a press conference in Beijing, after a meeting with China’s top diplomat.

Earlier this month, Putin said he plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping several times this year: At the SCO, at a meeting of BRICS countries, at the G-20 Summit and at an Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, TASS cited him as saying.

Also on Monday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said German and French leaders will urge Trump not to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal since doing so could cause major problems.

Maas was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations in Canada, 

He also said the G-7 would formally call on Russia to contribute to solving the crisis in Syria.

Maas said that in upcoming meetings in Washington, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron would urge Trump to stay in the deal. The agreement offered Tehran relief from sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

“We believe it is extremely important to uphold this agreement. Were it to fail or the US to drop out, we would not have anything comparable to it and we fear that the situation would significantly deteriorate with everything that goes with it,” he said.


Fresh protests in Iraq as medics raise death toll to 11

Updated 18 min 24 sec ago
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Fresh protests in Iraq as medics raise death toll to 11

  • Security forces remained deployed around the capital Baghdad
  • Overall medical sources put the death toll in the unrest at 11 people

BAGHDAD: Fresh protests hit southern Iraq Sunday as medical sources put at 11 the number of demonstrators killed in two weeks of unrest sparked by ire over corruption and lack of public services.
Security forces remained deployed around the capital Baghdad after struggling Friday to disperse crowds of angry protesters who took to the streets.
Demonstrations have roiled swathes of southern and central Iraq since erupting in the oil-rich port city of Basra on July 8, when security forces opened fire killing one person.
Overall medical sources put the death toll in the unrest at 11 people, three in each of the cities Basra, Samawah and Najaf, and one in both the cities of Diwaniyah and Karbala.
Most of them were killed by gunfire from unidentified assailants, while one person suffocated to death on tear gas used to disperse the demonstrators.
Protesters on Sunday took to the streets in the cities of Samawah and Nasiriyah, chanting “no to corruption,” a scourge Iraqis say has long blighted their country.
Since the start of the demonstrations those involved have focused their anger on the political establishment, with government buildings and party offices being sacked or set ablaze.
The Iraqi authorities have scrambled to halt the unrest and have blocked social media sites online to try to prevent the spread of protests.
Iraq is in a state of political limbo with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi overseeing a caretaker government as wrangling to form a new government drags on after elections in May.
A coalition headed by populist cleric Moqtada Sadr topped the polls, campaigning on an anti-graft ticket to claim the most seats in parliament.