Lebanon president says US pullout from Iran deal will hurt Middle East

FILE PHOTO: Lebanese President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, Nov. 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo
Updated 16 July 2018

Lebanon president says US pullout from Iran deal will hurt Middle East

  • "US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement will have negative repercussions for stability in the region," Aoun wrote
  • Aoun is a political ally of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah

BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Monday the US withdrawal from world powers’ 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran would have negative consequences for Middle East stability.
Aoun, a Maronite Christian politician, is a political ally of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah. The United States, which classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, arms and trains Lebanon’s army.
“The unilateral US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement (in May) will have negative repercussions for security and stability in the region,” Aoun wrote on Twitter, his first public comment on the accord.
“Lebanon considered (the deal) a cornerstone for stability in the region, helping make it an area free of weapons of mass destruction,” Aoun’s office said in a statement summarising a meeting between him and Iranian foreign ministry official Hossein Jaberi Ansari.
Aoun said he welcomed the commitment of other countries to continue with the deal.
In Lebanon’s May parliamentary elections Hezbollah together with groups and individuals that are politically aligned to it won more than half of parliament’s seats, boosting the group politically.
Under the 2015 accord, Iran won a lifting of international sanctions in return for verifiable curbs on its disputed uranium enrichment program.
US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the deal in May, calling it deeply flawed, and has reimposed stringent US sanctions, heaping pressure on other signatories including major European allies to follow suit.
European powers have reaffirmed their commitment to the accord and say they will do more to encourage their businesses to stay engaged with Iran, though a number of firms have already said they plan to pull out to avoid US penalties.


Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

Updated 18 August 2019

Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

  • Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa

AMMAN: Jordan has stepped up its diplomatic pressure on Israel, demanding that they do not change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Zaid Lozi, director-general of Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, summoned Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod to protest Israel’s actions in Jerusalem.

According to Petra News, Lozi told the envoy that recent remarks by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Ardan over changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque are unacceptable. Lozi added that the mosque is a place of worship for Muslims only.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi addressed a group of EU ambassadors in Amman and “stressed the urgency of effective international steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem.”

Safadi told Arab News that the situation in Jerusalem is challenging and must be addressed. He said that he will present a detailed report on Jordan’s position to Parliament on Monday.

The ministry denounced the Israeli authorities’ closure of the mosque’s gates and demanded that Israel respects its obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law.

HIGHLIGHT

• Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, told Arab News that Israeli authorities had been attempting to enforce major changes at the mosque.

“Security forces barged into the mosque yesterday. They went to the Bab Al-Rahmeh Mosque where they confiscated carpets and the closet where shoes are kept.”

Jordan’s diplomatic statements follow comments by Ardan, who said that Israel is disappointed with the current state of affairs at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to Israeli officials, the mosque area is sovereign Israeli territory, despite it being administered by Jordan. Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Qader said that Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa.

“There appears to have been a gradual deterioration of Arab and Islamic support to Jordan. It surprises me that Muslims have been quiet, perhaps they see an advantage if Jordan’s role is diminished? If true, this would be dangerous.”

Qader, a former minister in the Palestinian government and a current member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arab News that Jordan’s position “guarantees continuation of the status quo.”