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
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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.”


Trump blames bad Russia ties on FBI ‘witch hunt’

Updated 15 sec ago
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Trump blames bad Russia ties on FBI ‘witch hunt’

  • ‘Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!’
  • US special prosecutor Robert Mueller last week indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking computer servers belonging to Trump’s 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton

HELSINKI: US President Donald Trump set the scene for his summit with Vladimir Putin on Monday by blaming the chill in relations with Moscow on the investigation into Russian interference in his election victory.
“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted, referring to US special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probe.

Last week, Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking computer servers belonging to Trump’s 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton and her Democratic Party, then leaking private emails to damage her campaign.
Trump has furiously denied his campaign colluded in the alleged interference, and has generally denounced the special investigation as a “witch hunt” promoted by his enemies to delegitimize his victory.
At the same time, the US leader has promised to bring up the issue on Monday at his summit with Putin in Helsinki.