Iran opens new consulate in Iraq’s Basra after attack

Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) members secure the street close to the Basra International Hotel where Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi stays in Basra. (AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Iran opens new consulate in Iraq’s Basra after attack

BASRA: Iran’s ambassador to Iraq opened a new consulate for his country in the southern city of Basra on Tuesday, four days after its old mission building was torched by protesters.
Basra has seen a surge in deadly protests in the past week, with demonstrators angry about poor public services setting alight several key buildings.
“I’m here to inaugurate the new premises of our Iranian consulate in Basra... because we don’t want lose a single day of services for the people of Basra,” said ambassador Iraj Masjedi.
The envoy was speaking at a news conference before the Iranian flag was hoisted outside the building now operating as the Islamic republic’s consulate in the city.
Iran is one of two major powers present in neighboring Iraq, along with the United States.
Many pilgrims from Iran are expected to travel to Iraq in around 10 days for the Ashura rituals and in October for the Arbaeen commemorations.
The Iranian consulate building in Basra was torched by demonstrators on Friday, with its documents and equipment going up in smoke. None of its staff were injured.
Iran said the responsibility for any negligence over the incident lies with the Iraqi government, which announced an investigation into the security forces responsible for protecting the mission.


Palestinians to cut civil servant salaries after Israeli tax freeze

Updated 21 February 2019
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Palestinians to cut civil servant salaries after Israeli tax freeze

  • Israel's security cabinet on Sunday approved the freezing of $138 million (122 million euros) over the PA's payments to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis
  • Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday he would not accept anything but full payment of the tax transfers owed by Israel

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian finance minister on Thursday announced salary cuts for civil servants, days after Israel said it would withhold tens of millions of dollars in tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
Israel's security cabinet on Sunday approved the freezing of $138 million (122 million euros) over the PA's payments to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis.
Israel, which collects taxes on behalf of the PA, says the payments encourage further violence.
The PA claims they are a form of welfare to families who have lost their main breadwinner.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday he would not accept anything but full payment of the tax transfers owed by Israel.
The PA, which is already running a deficit, will "pay the salaries of civil servants in time, but they will be reduced", said PA finance minister Shukri Bishara after a meeting with EU representatives in Ramallah.
The cuts will not apply to salaries "paid to pensioners and families of martyrs, wounded or prisoners", he added, adding that wages below 2,000 shekels ($550) would also not be affected.
Many Palestinians view prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks as heroes in their conflict with Israel. Palestinian leaders often venerate them as martyrs.
Under a 1994 agreement, Israel collects around $190 million each month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports.
The money it then transfers to the PA is the authority's most important source of revenue.
The Palestinians want EU countries to pressure the Israeli government to rescind its decision, said Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy of Abbas's Fatah party.
Palestinian leaders will take steps to "boycott Israeli goods", he said, adding they had already prepared "a list of Israeli products that have local (Palestinian) equivalents".