US targets airlines in latest Iran sanctions move

Fresh sanctions are targeting firms linked to Mahan Air. (Reuters)
Updated 24 May 2018
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US targets airlines in latest Iran sanctions move

WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on several Iranian and Turkish companies and a number of aircraft in a move targeting four Iranian airlines.
The companies targeted were linked to Mahan Air and Meraj Air, the US Treasury Department said in a statement. It also said it was targeting a number of their aircraft, as well as aircraft from Caspian Airlines and Pouya Air.
The United States said the two airlines had ferried weapons, fighters and money to proxies in Syria and Lebanon. Washington also threatened sanctions for others granting landing rights and providing services to the aircraft.
"The deceptive practices these airlines employ to illegally obtain services and US goods is yet another example of the duplicitous ways in which the Iranian regime has operated," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The sanctions were the latest in the United States' efforts to economically strangle Iran with the hopes of blocking the country's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
Earlier this month, the United States withdrew from a 2015 nuclear accord that had lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear program, dismaying US allies.
On Tuesday, the United States imposed sanctions on five Iranians it said had provided Yemen's Houthi movement with weaponry and expertise to launch missiles at cities and oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

 


Silent on Cohen, Trump says Manafort conviction ‘a disgrace’ but ‘does not involve me’

Updated 54 min 44 sec ago
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Silent on Cohen, Trump says Manafort conviction ‘a disgrace’ but ‘does not involve me’

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump says the conviction of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on financial crimes is “a disgrace.”
But he hasn’t publicly reacted to former personal attorney Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas to felonies, including campaign finance violations he stated he carried out in coordination with Trump.
Manafort was convicted Tuesday in Virginia on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential obstruction of justice. Cohen pleaded guilty in New York, saying he and Trump arranged the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election.
Trump told reporters in West Virginia that Manafort’s conviction “has nothing to do with Russian collusion.” Of Manafort’s crimes, he says: “It doesn’t involve meRudy Giuliani  Trump’s personal lawyer says criminal charges against Michael Cohen don’t include the assertion he made in court that Trump directed him to make hush-money payments to influence the election.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that there’s “no allegation of any wrongdoing against the President in the government’s charges.”
Giuliani’s comments came after Cohen pleaded guilty to charges including campaign finance fraud.
The charging documents say Cohen made the payments “at the request and suggestion of one or more members of the campaign.”
Cohen told a judge that he and Trump arranged to pay Daniels $130,000 and $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal as the 2016 election loomed.

Both women claimed they had affairs with Trump, which he denies.

Giuliani echoed Deputy US Attorney Robert Khuzami’s assessment that the charges against Cohen “reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time.”

Michael Cohen’s lawyer is suggesting President Donald Trump should face criminal charges for directing his longtime “fixer” to make hush-money payments to two women to influence the election.
Lawyer Lanny Davis tweeted on Tuesday: “If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?“
Davis’ comments came after Cohen pleaded guilty to charges including campaign finance fraud.
Both women claimed they had affairs with Trump, which he denies.
Davis tweeted that by pleading guilty Cohen was “fulfilling his promise” to “put his family and country first and tell the truth about Donald Trump.”
Stormy Daniels’ lawyer says Michael Cohen’s guilty plea to charges involving hush-money payments should open the door to questioning President Donald Trump about “what he knew, when he knew it, and what he did about it.”
Cohen said in court on Tuesday that he coordinated with Trump to pay Daniels $130,000 and $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to influence the election. Both women claimed they had affairs with Trump, which he denies.
Daniels said she and lawyer Michael Avenatti felt vindicated and look forward to apologies “from the people who claimed we were wrong.”
Avenatti is flirting with running for president in 2020 as a Democrat. He said the likelihood of that happening will dwindle if Trump resigns or decides not to run for re-election.
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