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.


Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib to be questioned by anti-corruption agency

Updated 25 September 2018
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Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib to be questioned by anti-corruption agency

  • Rosmah was first questioned in June in connection with the investigation
  • A source familiar with the investigation said Rosmah would be questioned in connection with the 1MDB probe

KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, was summoned on Tuesday for questioning by the anti-graft agency in its multi-billion dollar corruption probe at state fund 1MDB.
It was the second time Rosmah, 66, has been called in by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) since the shock defeat of Najib in the May general election.
Rosmah was first questioned in June in connection with the investigation, which is looking into allegations of corruption and misappropriation in state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Her husband has pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust.
The former first lady was served with a notice on Tuesday afternoon to appear before MACC the next day, her lawyer K.Kumaraendran said, adding that she was asked to assist with investigations under the anti-money laundering act.
A source familiar with the investigation said Rosmah would be questioned in connection with the 1MDB probe.
After filing fresh charges against Najib last week, Azam Baki, the deputy commissioner of the anti-graft agency, said more charges could be brought against individuals over 1MDB.
When asked if Rosmah could face charges, he said: “I’m not denying that.”
Rosmah’s penchant for designer handbags, watches and jewelry raised eyebrows in Malaysia, with opponents asking how she was able to afford the luxury items on her husband’s government salary.
She has drawn comparisons to Imelda Marcos, who left behind more than 1,200 pairs of shoes when her husband Ferdinand Marcos was ousted as president of the Philippines in 1986.
Najib and Rosmah have both been barred from leaving the country since the former’s election defeat, and their home and other properties linked to them have been searched by the police as part of the 1MDB investigations.
The haul seized from the properties included 567 handbags, 423 watches and 12,000 pieces of jewelry.
Najib has said most of the seized items were gifts given to his wife and daughter and had nothing to do with 1MDB.
The US Department of Justice has alleged more than $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB and that about $680 million ended up in Najib’s personal bank account. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.