Iraq sending team to US to seek deal on transactions with Iran

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said Iraq will send a delegation to the United States seeking an agreement on financial transactions with Iran. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 28 August 2018
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Iraq sending team to US to seek deal on transactions with Iran

BAGHDAD: Iraq will send a delegation to the United States seeking an agreement on financial transactions with Iran following Washington’s reimposition of sanctions on Tehran, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Tuesday.
His statement was the first by an Iraqi official since Reuters reported last week Baghdad was going to ask Washington for exemptions from some of the sanctions because Iraq’s economy is closely linked with neighboring Iran.
“We are not with economic sanctions against any country and that is our strategic position,” state television quoted Abadi as saying at a weekly news conference.
US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in May from world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, calling it flawed, and reimposed trade sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The Trump administration has warned of consequences for countries that do not respect the sanctions. Baghdad is in a difficult position — its two biggest allies are the United States and Iran, themselves arch-adversaries.
Iraqi government and central bank officials said the delegation will travel to Washington to ask for exemptions in applying the sanctions. They did not say when that trip would take place.


Four killed in torrential Tunisia rains

Updated 23 September 2018
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Four killed in torrential Tunisia rains

NABEUL, Tunisia: Flash floods in Tunisia’s Cap Bon peninsula have killed at least four people, authorities said Sunday, as surging waters caused by heavy rains carried away homes, cars and chunks of road.
Among the four dead were two sisters, swept away as they left work at a factory in Bou Argoub, 45 kilometers southeast of the capital, the interior ministry said.
A 60-year-old man drowned near the town of Takilsa and another man was found dead in Bir Bouregba, close to the town of Hammamet, ministry spokesman Sofiene Zaag told AFP.
Saturday’s storm caused water levels in some areas to rise as much as 1.7 meters (5.6 feet), as bridges and roads were damaged in record rains that dropped the equivalent of nearly six months of average precipitation.
“It was raining since noon and (in the afternoon) it became torrential. The water flooded over the bridge and onto the road,” Moncef Barouni, a resident in the coastal town of Nabeul, told AFP.
In just minutes, “the water swept away the fence, then the boiler room, the summer kitchen and a part of the house,” he said.
“I was scared for my life.”
The storm dumped 200 millimeters (7.9 inches) of rain on Nabeul and up to 225 millimeters in the city of Beni Khalled, in the peninsula’s center, according to Tunisia’s National Institute of Meteorology.
It was the heaviest rainfall since the institute began keeping a record in 1995, the institute said, adding that it had issued a warning about the storms on Friday.
Videos posted to social networks showed surging waters carrying cars and pieces of road in the north of the peninsula.
Tunisian authorities said they had dispatched police, army and rescue teams to the region on Saturday afternoon, in addition to mobilizing ambulances and two helicopters.
Authorities also took preventative measures in the Sahel region further south in anticipation of further rains, but by Sunday they appeared to have subsided.
The sun was out Sunday and receding water levels meant most of the area’s roads were passable by car, Zaag said, although the region’s telephone networks were still largely out of service.
Severe thunderstorms have hit the North African country since the middle of last week, flooding roads and damaging property, sparking anger against the authorities for allegedly failing to maintain drainage systems.