Trump says Iran in turmoil since US withdrew from nuke deal

US President Donald Trump. (AP)
Updated 17 July 2018
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Trump says Iran in turmoil since US withdrew from nuke deal

  • Trump in May pulled the United States from the nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers in 2015
  • Iran’s economy is already suffering from the sanctions that Washington re-imposed after walking away from the nuclear agreement

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump asserted Monday that Iran was being roiled by nationwide riots since he pulled out of an international nuclear deal and that Washington supports the protesters.
Trump, interviewed after his summit in Helsinki with President Vladimir Putin, said that Russia still supported the nuclear accord because it does business with the regime in Tehran, so the deal is in Moscow’s interest.
“It is not good for us or for the world, but they have riots in all their cities,” Trump told Fox News.
“The inflation is rampant, going through the roof. And not that you want to hurt anybody, but that regime wouldn’t let the people know that we are behind them 100 percent.
“They are having big protests all over the country, probably as big as they have ever had before. And battles happened since I terminated that deal, so we will see,” he added.
Over the objections of allies, Trump in May pulled the United States from the nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers in 2015.
He reimposed US sanctions that had been suspended in return for controls on Tehran’s nuclear program, effectively barring many multinational firms from doing business in Iran.
Iran has been defiant in the face of the US move, saying it has left the Trump administration internationally isolated.
“The illegal logic of the United States is not supported by any of the international organizations,” President Hassan Rouhani said at the weekend.
Iran has faced mounting economic woes since Trump’s withdrawal announcement, with inflation rising sharply.
Its currency has plunged almost 50 percent in value in the past six months against the US dollar, prompting a rare strike earlier this month by traders in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar.
There have also been reports of brief scuffles and small-scale protests in recent weeks although not of mass demonstrations.


Assad regime renews threat to attack Idlib after militants refuse to pull out

Updated 16 min 10 sec ago
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Assad regime renews threat to attack Idlib after militants refuse to pull out

  • Province ‘must return to Syrian sovereignty,’ minister warns as buffer-zone deal hangs in balance
  • Syrian FM says it is now up to Russia to judge whether the agreement, which averted a regime offensive last month, was being fulfilled

BEIRUT: The Assad regime renewed its threat on Monday to launch an offensive in Idlib province in northwest Syria after militants defied a Russia-Turkey deal for them to pull out.

The fighters failed to meet the Oct. 15 deadline for them to withdraw from a planned buffer zone around Syria’s last opposition stronghold.

“Our armed forces are ready around Idlib to eradicate terrorism if the Idlib agreement is not implemented,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moualem said at a press conference in Damascus with the Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari.

“Idlib, as any other province, has to return to Syrian sovereignty. We prefer to have it through peaceful means, through reconciliation, but if not there are other options.”

Al-Moualem said it was now up to Russia to judge whether the agreement, which averted a regime offensive last month, was being fulfilled. “We have to wait for the Russian reaction. Russia is monitoring and following the situation,” he said.

When Idlib was recaptured from the opposition, the regime would turn its attention to territory held by the Kurdish-led and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, the minister said. “After Idlib, our target is east of the Euphrates,” which must also return to Syrian sovereignty, he said.

Civilians in Idlib said they were concerned about an increase in violence if the Russian-Turkish accord collapsed. “We fear the deal’s sponsors will fail to implement all its points, and that the bombardment and battles will return,” one said.

The deal provides for a 15-20 km horseshoe-shaped buffer zone around opposition-held areas in Idlib and the neighboring provinces of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo.

The dominant militant force in the region is Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), an alliance led by Al-Qaeda’s former Syrian branch. The group has signaled that it would abide by the terms of the deal, although it has not explicitly said so.

“We value the efforts of all those striving — at home and abroad — to protect the liberated area and prevent its invasion and the perpetration of massacres in it,” HTS said.

Elsewhere in Syria, the Assad regime on Monday reopened a vital border post with Jordan and a crossing into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Two white jeeps crossed into Israeli-occupied territory during a low-key ceremony to mark the reopening of the Quneitra crossing in the Golan, four years after it was closed when Syrian opposition forces seized nearby territory.

In the south, and three years after it too was closed, a black metal border gate opened at the Nassib crossing into Jordan as police and customs officials stood nearby.

The Jordan crossing was previously a major trading route, while the remote Quneitra post is used primarily by a UN force that monitors a cease-fire line separating Israeli-occupied parts of the Golan Heights from Syria.

Syrian businessman Hisham Falyoun, who lives in Jordan with his wife and children, was the first person to cross the border in his black Mercedes SUV.

“I wanted to be the first person to cross to show everyone that Syria is safe, Syria is back,” said Falyoun, who was hoping to surprise his parents in Damascus.