US pressures EU to isolate Iran regime

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US Energy Secretary Rick Perry (left) and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (2nd left) are seen with EU Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini, EU Commission Member Miguel Arias Canete, and EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic at the US-EU Energy Council Meeting at the European Union's European External Action Service in Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
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In this file photo taken on July 20, 2016, container ship of French shipping company CMA CGM leaves the harbor of Saint-Nazaire, western France. The US on Thursday urged European nations to get behind American measures to cut Iran off from the world energy markets. (AFP)
Updated 13 July 2018

US pressures EU to isolate Iran regime

  • Iran’s struggling economy unlikely to survive international rejection, say experts
  • He added that Iran’s economic troubles would force the country to seek a security deal with Washington as a result of his withdrawal from the nuclear pact.

JEDDAH: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday urged European nations to get behind American measures to cut Iran off from the world energy markets.

“Iran continues to send weapons across the Middle East, in blatant violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” he said during talks in Brussels.

“Iran’s regime wants to start trouble wherever it can. It’s our responsibility to stop it. ”

Pompeo also posted a message on Twitter, saying: “It’s time to face the facts about #Iran’s malevolent regime.” 

Also on Thursday, President Donald Trump warned of an unspecified “escalation” between the US and Iran.

“I would say there might be an escalation between us and the Iranians,” Trump said during a news conference in Brussels. He added that Iran’s economic troubles would force the country to seek a security deal with Washington as a result of his withdrawal from the nuclear pact.

“They’re treating us with much more respect right now than they did in the past and I know they’re having a lot of problems and their economy is collapsing,” said Trump. “But I will tell you this: At a certain point, they’re going to call me and they’re going to say, ‘Let’s make a deal,’ and we’ll make a deal. But they’re feeling a lot of pain right now.”

Experts have welcomed the increased US pressure on Europe over Iran. 

Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, said Iran’s energy exports depend heavily on European and Asian customers.

“If the EU complies with American sanctions and halts investments, as well as significantly curtailing Iranian oil imports, it is difficult to see how Iran’s economy can survive such international isolation,” he said.

Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Dr. Majid Rafizadeh said that in the short term, some European powers will continue attempts to salvage their business deals with Iran, as well as the nuclear deal. 

“Nevertheless, in the long term Europe will more likely join its old transatlantic partner in containing the Iranian regime and countering its threats,” he added.

“For Europe, the costs of dealing with the Iranian regime considerably outweigh the benefits. The EU has no common interests with the top state sponsor of terrorism, the Iranian regime. From geopolitical, strategical, military, security and economic landscapes, the EU-US relationship is significantly greater than EU-Iran ties.”

4 shot, 2 arrested at Raptors rally in Toronto: Police

Updated 17 min 2 sec ago

4 shot, 2 arrested at Raptors rally in Toronto: Police

TORONTO: Four people were shot and wounded at a rally Monday for the NBA champion Raptors, and two people were arrested “with firearms,” police said.
Droves of Raptors fans ran from the shooting in a stampede from the City Hall square, which was packed with tens of thousands of people. A million or more fans earlier packed downtown Toronto for a parade for the Raptors, raising concerns about safety and overcrowding.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said four people suffered gunshot wounds but said none of the injuries were life-threatening. Others suffered minor injuries as they tried to get away from the shooting, said Saunders, who asked for witnesses and people who might have video to come forward and help investigators.
“We do have people arrested with firearms and that’s the start of the investigation,” Saunders said.
Asked if it was a targeted shooting or terrorism-related, police spokeswoman Allison Sparkes said the investigation was ongoing.
During a speech from one of the team owners, the host of the rally interrupted the proceedings to alert the crowd to an emergency and asked for calm. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Toronto Mayor John Tory, NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and other players were among those on stage at the time.
“I want to make sure everyone stays calm,” said the host, sportscaster Matt Devlin. “This is serious. Everyone stay calm ... There is an emergency being dealt with.”
Those on stage remained in place and speeches resumed shortly after.
Andrew Singh said he heard what appeared to be gunshots and that a woman was wounded before people started scrambling.
“We just saw the girl drop to the floor and the guy running off,” the 29-year-old said. “All I heard was, ‘bop bop bop.’“
Mike Mudidi said he was enjoying the celebrations when he heard screams behind him that someone had pulled out a gun. He said he froze as people started running in all directions.
“I just grabbed my buddies’ hands and ran,” he said.
Raptors fan Phil D’Souza said the violence left a bad taste in his mouth, and he questioned whether he would attend a similar event in the future.
“You couldn’t see the shooter but it was that kind of chaos where you’re just expecting to see somebody coming around the corner. It was that kind of vibe,” D’Souza said.
Another fan said the stampede was scary.
“When you see a bunch of people coming at you, you don’t know what to do, whether to run or not. You don’t want to get stampeded over,” Sam Sunday said.
Trudeau’s spokeswoman declined to comment on the shooting near the prime minister.
“We never comment on matters relating to the PM’s security,” Eleanore Catenaro said.
Tory, the mayor, thanked police for their quick response and said he was angered by the shooting.
“It is disappointing and I’m sure a source of anger for more than just me that anyone would carry a gun and discharge it at what was otherwise a joyous celebration,” Tory said in a statement. “I hope those found responsible will be held to account to the full extent that the law permits. I want to commend and thank the millions of other people who happily and peacefully celebrated our beloved Toronto Raptors.”
Tory previously urged every city resident to come celebrate the Raptors’ first championship and declared Monday as “We The North Day,” after the franchise’s slogan.
“Toronto, more than a million of us flooded the streets today to celebrate our Raptors,” city councilman Joe Cressy tweeted. “People of all every age, every race, every religion — our City. As awful as the shooting was and terrifying for many in the crowd afterwards, don’t let it take away from our moment.”
Some 1.5 million fans withstood packed conditions to attend the parade. Nicolas Caramanna, 21, said the crowd started to get rowdy shortly after he arrived at 9 a.m.
Many others chose to miss school or work. Cypher Sabanal, 15, said his mom let him skip class to attend the celebration.
John Moreira called in sick to work so he could be part of Toronto’s first celebration of this magnitude since the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.
“I told my boss I wanted to be at the parade and he said there wasn’t much he could do if I called in sick, so that’s exactly what I did,” the 31-year-old said.
As the parade inched forward — discernibly behind schedule — a number of Raptors could not help but marvel at the fan response.
“It’s been amazing,” Leonard said. “Thank you Toronto, thank you Canada for the support. We did it.”
Several fans were seen carrying signs imploring Leonard to re-sign with the Raptors. He will be a free agent this summer.
Kyle Lowry, the team’s longest-tenured player, hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy while his teammates smoked cigars.
“This is unbelievable,” he said.