Japan PM tells Jordan king he aims for strategic partnership

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) talks with Jordanian King Abdullah II over lunch at the Royal Palace in Amman on May 1, 2018. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)
Updated 01 May 2018
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Japan PM tells Jordan king he aims for strategic partnership

  • Prime Minister Abe's arrival at Jordan comes a day after he visited the UAE

AMMAN, Jordan: Visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told Jordan’s King Abdullah II that his country hopes to upgrade its ties with the kingdom into a strategic partnership.
Abe told the monarch on Tuesday that “Jordan’s stability is indispensable for regional stability” and that Japan will provide as much aid as possible to ensure the country’s economic and social stability. The Japanese prime minister was accompanied by a delegation of business leaders.
He said he hoped to “dramatically develop our bilateral ties.”
Jordan, a key Western ally, has struggled with a sluggish economy, including rising unemployment, in the wake of regional conflicts, including in neighboring Syria and Iraq. The fighting next door has severely disrupted Jordan’s trade.
Abdullah told Abe that he hopes to develop trade ties between the two countries.


Iran: US sanctions on Khamenei mean end of diplomacy

Updated 25 June 2019
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Iran: US sanctions on Khamenei mean end of diplomacy

  • Trump said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of drone attack
  • Washington has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Tehran since last year

Iran said on Tuesday that a US decision to impose sanctions on the country’s supreme leader and other top officials permanently closed the path to diplomacy between Tehran and Washington.
“Imposing useless sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and the commander of Iran’s diplomacy (Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif) is the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet.
“Trump’s desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security.”

US President Donald Trump earlier signed an executive order that would impose fresh sanctions on Iran, amid increased tensions between the long-time foes.

Trump initially told reporters the sanctions, which will target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office, were in response to Tehran's downing of a US drone last week. Tehran has said the drone was flying in its airspace, which Washington has denied.

Later, Trump said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone.

The US will also blacklist Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and block "billions" more in Iranian assets as part of expanded sanctions, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

Mnuchin told reporters Zarif would be added to an economic sanctions list "later this week," adding that eight top military commanders from Iran's Revolutionary Guards have now also been blacklisted.

The US has also blamed Iran for attacks earlier this month on two oil tankers at the entrance of the Gulf of Oman. Iran, in turn, has denied that it is to blame.

Washington has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Tehran since last year, when the US withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing of sanctions. Trump’s administration has said the deal struck under his predecessor President Barack Obama did not do enough.

Trump has said he would be open to talks with Iranian leaders, but Tehran has rejected such an offer unless Washington drops the sanctions.

The Trump administration wants to force Tehran to open talks on its nuclear and missile programmes and its activities in the region.

The US also accuses Iran of encouraging allies in Yemen to attack Saudi targets. In a joint statement on Monday, the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and UK expressed concern over Middle East tensions and the dangers posed by Iranian "destabilizing activity" to peace and security in Yemen and the region.