Iran says US blame over Iraq protests ‘astonishing’

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi blamed the unrest on US support for “groups which have spread and promoted violence and extremism.” (File/AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Iran says US blame over Iraq protests ‘astonishing’

TEHRAN: Iran described as “astonishing” Wednesday US accusations that its allies in Iraq were responsible for attacks on US diplomatic missions during deadly unrest last week centered on third city Basra.
Both the US consulate in Basra and its embassy in Baghdad came under attack but the offices of political parties and militias backed by Iran were the principal target of the unrest in Basra while the Iranian consulate in the city was burnt to the ground.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi blamed the unrest on US support for “groups which have spread and promoted violence and extremism.”
“The US government must be held accountable for its years of support for these groups,” Ghasemi told the semi-official ISNA news agency.
“America should know that by playing such clumsy blame games, it cannot cover up the consequences of its wrong, fruitless and destabilising policies in the region.
“Issuing such statements lacks credibility, and is astonishing, provocative and irresponsible.”
Ghasemi was responding to a statement by the White House on Tuesday, which criticized Iran for failing to prevent the violence, particularly the attacks on the US diplomatic missions.
“Iran did not act to stop these attacks by its proxies in Iraq, which it has supported with funding, training, and weapons,” the statement said.
The rare attack on the US embassy in Baghdad came on Friday when three mortar rounds were fired at the capital’s fortified Green Zone, though no casualties or damage was reported.
Bitter foes Iran and the United States are Iraq’s principal allies and have long vied for political influence.


Israel steps up boycott fight after Airbnb settlement ban

Updated 21 November 2018
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Israel steps up boycott fight after Airbnb settlement ban

  • Israel will encourage hosts in settlements to sue the company to make it ‘pay’ for its decision
  • Airbnb’s decision on Monday sparked outrage among Israeli officials and settler leaders

KFAR ADUMIM, West Bank: Israel is threatening vacation rental company Airbnb with high taxes and legal repercussions over its decision to remove listings from Jewish West Bank settlements.
The threats step up Israel’s fight against a global movement advocating for boycotts over the country’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said Tuesday that Israel will seek to impose “very high taxes” on the company in order to restrict its operations in the country. He also says Israel will encourage hosts in settlements to sue the company to make it “pay” for its decision.
Airbnb’s decision on Monday sparked outrage among Israeli officials and settler leaders, but was welcomed by Palestinian officials and human rights groups that had long pressured the company to end its contentious West Bank settlement listings.