Iran, world powers to have first nuclear meet since Trump pullout

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, above, will meet with his counterparts from countries which are still party to its nuclear accord. (AFP)
Updated 03 July 2018
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Iran, world powers to have first nuclear meet since Trump pullout

  • Foreign ministers to discuss ways of maintaining the deal after the withdrawal of the US
  • ‘Foreign ministers of Iran and five world powers will discuss a proposed European package and measures to protect the agreement’

TEHRAN: The foreign ministers of Iran and five world powers still party to the 2015 nuclear deal will meet in Vienna on Friday for talks on the troubled accord, Tehran and Moscow said.
The top diplomats of Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia will join Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the Austrian capital, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported, for their first talks together on the deal since Washington pulled out earlier this year.
During the meeting the ministers will discuss an “incentive package” the European Union is offering to try to persuade Iran to stay in the agreement, IRNA reported.
The meeting will seek “solutions to preserve the Iran nuclear deal after the illegal US action to withdraw,” it said.
In Moscow, deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies that the meeting aimed to “prevent the disintegration” of the accord and to “protect the interests of economic actors.”
“We should send a message to Washington showing how much the position of countries participating in the deal differs from the stance of (US President) Donald Trump,” he said.
The announcement of Friday’s meeting came with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Europe to rally support for the deal.
Rouhani, accompanied by Zarif, was in Switzerland on Tuesday and due to head on Wednesday to Vienna, where the accord was signed in 2015.
Trump unilaterally pulled out of the agreement two months ago, to the ire of the other signatories which along with the European Union have continued to back the accord.
Iran has warned it is ready to resume uranium enrichment to 20 percent — above the level permitted in the deal — “within days” if the agreement falls apart.


India and Afghanistan review their strategic partnership

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, with Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 24 min 4 sec ago
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India and Afghanistan review their strategic partnership

  • Afghan, Indian leaders “reviewed and positively assessed the progress of the multi-faceted India-Afghanistan strategic partnership”
  • The two countries also decided “to strengthen connectivity, including through Chabahar port and the air-freight corridor.”

NEW DELHI: India and Afghanistan reviewed bilateral civil and military cooperation during a one day of meetings in  New Delhi on Wednesday.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which the two sides “reviewed and positively assessed the progress of the multi-faceted India-Afghanistan strategic partnership.”

A press release from the Indian Prime Minister’s office announced after the meeting: “It was agreed to deepen the New Development Partnership in the areas of high impact projects in this field of infrastructure, human resources development and other capacity-building projects in Afghanistan.” 

 The two countries also decided “to strengthen connectivity, including through Chabahar port and the air-freight corridor.”

 “I would like to thank the Indian people for their commitment to Afghanistan's future,” Ghani said in a speech in New Delhi before leaving for Kabul.

“What India-Afghanistan share is deep and binding trust in democratic institutions,” he added.

Modi supported an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation process” and pledged “India's unwavering commitment to support the efforts of the government of Afghanistan to this end, as also for the security and sovereignty of Afghanistan.”

 “Peace with the Taliban is important so that we can concentrate on counter-terrorism. The Taliban is part of Afghan society, ISIS (using another term for the terror group Daesh) is not. We must make that distinction,” Ghani said in his address at the New Delhi-based think tank, India Foundation.

 Commenting on Ghani’s visit, Vishal Chandra of Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), a New Delhi-based think tank, said: “The timing of the visit is significant; he has come at a time when the Afghan forces are under great pressure from the Taliban and Daesh.” He added that Ghani was looking for wider regional support in initiatives to stem the rising tide of terrorism.

Talking to Arab News, Chandra underlined that “there is no question of India involving itself militarily in Afghanistan, but it might step up its efforts to ensure that they have better air capability and they don’t have shortage of ammunition. I don’t expect India to supply heavy weaponry.”

Harsh V. Pant, director of the think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) said: “Despite India scaling up its presence in the defence sector, New Delhi’s military presence in Afghanistan is limited.

“The appetite in India for military involvement is very small; there is no consensus about the military footprints New Delhi should have in Afghanistan. But there is a consensus that New Delhi’s security cooperation with Kabul should be extended and should be robust and that is what India is doing.” 

In his book “India’s Afghanistan Muddle” Pant argued that “India cannot evolve its equity in Afghanistan unless some form of military involvement happens.”

Pant told Arab News: “The visit of Ghani at this time is a sign of a certain maturity in the relationship where Afghanistan feels that India should be kept in a loop. The relationship has grown to an extent that two sides are comfortable with each other in sharing assessment about where the political trajectory is going.”