US ambassador urges Britain to ditch support for Iran nuclear deal

US Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson criticized Tehran for funding “proxy wars and malign activities.” (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2018
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US ambassador urges Britain to ditch support for Iran nuclear deal

  • US Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson criticized Tehran for funding “proxy wars and malign activities” instead of investing in its economy
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last week that Trump’s repudiation of the nuclear deal was illegal

LONDON: The United States urged Britain on Sunday to ditch its support for a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and instead join forces with Washington to counter the global threat it says Tehran poses.
Despite opposition from European allies, US President Trump in May pulled the United States out of a deal between world powers and Tehran under which international sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.
Since then, Britain, France and Germany have sought to keep the deal alive, while Trump has prepared new sanctions, saying a broader and more balanced deal is needed. Iran has denounced the sanctions as “US unilateralism.”
US Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson criticized Tehran for funding “proxy wars and malign activities” instead of investing in its economy. He said Iran needed to make tangible and sustained changes to behave like a normal country.
“Until then, America is turning up the pressure and we want the UK by our side,” Johnson wrote in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
“It is time to move on from the flawed 2015 deal. We are asking global Britain to use its considerable diplomatic power and influence and join us as we lead a concerted global effort toward a genuinely comprehensive agreement.”
Asked about Johnson’s article, the British foreign office pointed to comments from Middle East minister Alistair Burt, who last week ruled out Britain going along with the United States.
Burt said the deal was an important part of regional security and that, with the European Union, the government was trying to protect British companies from the US sanctions when dealing with Iran. Britain remained open to talks with the United States on how to address concerns about Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last week that Trump’s repudiation of the nuclear deal was illegal and Iran would not yield to Washington’s renewed campaign to strangle Iran’s vital oil exports.
But protests have broken out in Iran as its currency has collapsed in value and inflation has soared. The protests have often begun with slogans against the high cost of living and alleged financial corruption, but quickly turned into anti-government rallies.


Rohingya ‘rights at risk’ after Myanmar ID move

The sun rises as thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar a day before wait by the road where they spent the night between refugee camps, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, in this October 10, 2017 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 min 11 sec ago
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Rohingya ‘rights at risk’ after Myanmar ID move

DHAKA: Bangladesh has yet to decide whether it will replace its official description of Rohingya refugees — a move some claim will limit the Rohingyas’ rights as Myanmar citizens.
A Bangladesh Foreign Ministry spokesman told Arab News a decision over the replacement of the term “forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals” with “displaced persons from Rakhine state” was still under consideration.
“During last week’s discussion with the Bangladesh delegation, the Myanmar authority brought this up. We have listened to their points in this regard,” Delwar Hossain, director-general of the Foreign Ministry, said.
“Discussion is continuing among the ministry’s policy-makers, but the decision has yet to be taken,” he said.
Another Bangladeshi official present at the meeting at Nay Pe Daw said that Bangladesh has not given any consent to the proposal from Myanmar regarding the replacement of the term.
“I have not received any directive over the issue,” said Abul Kalam, of the Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC), the main coordinating body looking after the Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar.
However, experts believe that the replacement of the term “forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals” with “displaced persons from Rakhine state” will limit the Rohingyas’ ability to secure rights as Myanmar citizens.
“Whatever the language or term is, the Myanmar government is the ultimate authority to determine the citizenship issue of the Rohingyas. We want the (Rohingyas) to live in Rakhine with honor and dignity,” said Humayun Kabir, former Bangladesh ambassador to the US.
“We want to see developments on the ground for the repatriation of the refugees, and that is the prime concern at the moment.”
Independent migration expert Asif Munir said that Myanmar posted the statement on its state counsellor’s Facebook page, which is not an official channel.
He described the Myanmar approach as “very provocative.”
“Although Bangladesh authorities have not yet officially agreed with the Myanmar proposal, they (Myanmar) have issued a statement through an informal channel to see the response of the Bangladeshis. If Bangladesh opposes it strongly, then Myanmar may take the chance to disown the statement by saying that it was not at all official,” Munir said.
“This proposal will hamper the Rohingyas’ identity and citizenship of Myanmar.”