Europe, China, Russia discussing new deal for Iran

Ali Akbar Salehi (L), head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, and Arias Canete, European Union Energy Commissioner, speak to the press after meeting in Tehran on May 19, 72018. (AFP)
Updated 20 May 2018
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Europe, China, Russia discussing new deal for Iran

  • US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, saying that the deal did not stop Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions and missile program.
  • Iran has struggled to achieve financial benefits from the deal, partly because remaining unilateral US sanctions over its missile program deterred major Western investors from doing business with Tehran.

BERLIN: Diplomats from Europe, China and Russia are discussing a new accord to offer Iran financial aid to curb its ballistic missile development and meddling in the region, in the hope of salvaging its 2015 nuclear deal, a German newspaper reported on Sunday.
The officials will meet in Vienna in the coming week under the leadership of senior European Union diplomat Helga Schmid to discuss next steps after the May 8 decision by US President Donald Trump to pull out of a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper said, citing senior EU sources.
Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China would participate in the meeting, but the United States would not, it said. It was not immediately clear if Iran — which has resisted calls to curb its ballistic missile program in the past — would take part.
Under the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions. One of the main complaints of the Trump administration was that the accord did not cover Iran’s missile program or its support for armed groups in the Middle East which the West considers terrorists.
Concluding a new agreement that would maintain the nuclear provisions and curb ballistic missile development efforts and Tehran’s activities in the region could help convince Trump to lift sanctions against Iran, the paper said.
“We have to get away from the name ‘Vienna nuclear agreement’ and add in a few additional elements. Only that will convince President Trump to agree and lift sanctions again,” the paper quoted a senior EU diplomat as saying.
No immediate comment was available from the German foreign ministry.
The EU’s energy chief sought to reassure Iran on Saturday that the 28-member bloc remained committed to salvaging the nuclear deal, and strengthening trade with Tehran.
Officials from the EU, Germany and other countries that remain committed to the deal have said it would disastrous if EU efforts fail to preserve it.
Iran has struggled to achieve financial benefits from the deal, partly because remaining unilateral US sanctions over its missile program deterred major Western investors from doing business with Tehran.
The officials are looking for a new approach given an understanding that it would be difficult for European firms to work around new US sanctions, the newspaper reported.
It said the new deal could include billions of dollars of financial aid for Iran, in line with an EU deal that provided billions in aid to Turkey for taking in millions of migrants and closing its borders, which helped end a 2015 migrant crisis.
Iran and European powers have made a good start in talks over how to salvage the 2015 deal but much depends on what happens in the next few weeks, Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said last week. 


Iran must provide care to detainees on hunger strike: UN experts

Updated 32 min 10 sec ago
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Iran must provide care to detainees on hunger strike: UN experts

  • British-Iranian detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe launched a hunger strike over a lack of care
  • “The authorities must urgently address the violations that are the basis of their hunger strike protest,” UN experts said

GENEVA: UN human rights experts urged Iran on Wednesday to grant urgently needed medical attention to two detainees, including British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who launched a hunger strike over a lack of care.
The six UN experts also appealed on behalf of Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, who was arrested in 2015 and jailed for 10 years for “forming and managing an illegal group” and who has joined Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s hunger strike.
“We urge the Government to immediately and unconditionally provide Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi with access to the appropriate treatment and care they have repeatedly requested in light of their serious health concerns,” the experts said in a statement.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has said his wife has detected a lump in her breast and is complaining of numbness in her arms and legs.
Mohammadi has been denied proper health care for more than a year, despite suffering from a pulmonary embolism, blood clots and seizures, the experts said said, citing people familiar with her situation.
“The authorities must urgently address the violations that are the basis of their hunger strike protest,” the group said.
The statement was signed by Dainius Puras, special rapporteur on the right to health, Diego Garcia-Sayan, the rapporteur for independent judges and lawyers as well as Nils Melzer, the UN expert on torture.
It was also signed by a specialist on arbitrary detentions, Seong-Phil Hong, the rapporteur on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, and Javaid Rehman, the expert on human rights in Iran.
UN rights experts are independent, unpaid and do not speak for the office of the High Commission for Human Rights.