US security chief Bolton vows to ‘squeeze’ Iran

US National Security Adviser John Bolton attended a summit in Singapore. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 November 2018
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US security chief Bolton vows to ‘squeeze’ Iran

  • The latest tranche of measures have been touted as the toughest yet, and aim to significantly reduce Iran’s vital oil exports and cut off its banks from international finance
  • IMF has forecast that the sanctions will cause Iran’s economy to contract 1.5 percent this year and 3.6 percent next year

SINGAPORE: US National Security Adviser John Bolton vowed Tuesday to “squeeze” Iran “until the pips squeak,” a week after a tough new round of sanctions came into force.
President Donald Trump has dramatically increased pressure on Tehran, withdrawing from an international agreement aimed at ending its nuclear program and introducing several rounds of unilateral US sanctions.
The latest tranche of measures have been touted as the toughest yet, and aim to significantly reduce Iran’s vital oil exports and cut off its banks from international finance.
Speaking in Singapore ahead of a summit, Bolton said: “We think the government is under real pressure and it’s our intention to squeeze them very hard.
“As the British say, squeeze them until the pips squeak.”
“We are also going to significantly increase the enforcement of sanctions.”
The sanctions have been opposed by other parties to the deal aimed at ending Iran’s nuclear drive — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — who have vowed to keep the accord alive.
UN inspectors say Iran is abiding by the agreement.
Washington is demanding that Iran end policies rooted in the 1979 Islamist revolution, including its support for regional proxies such as the Lebanese militia Hezbollah and its development of missiles.
The only support for the US position has come from Iran’s regional rivals, notably Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The International Monetary Fund has forecast that the sanctions will cause Iran’s economy to contract 1.5 percent this year and 3.6 percent next year.


Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

A firefighting aircraft flies over a forest near Kibbutz Harel, which was damaged by wildfires during a record heatwave, in Israel May 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 May 2019
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Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

  • Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes on Thursday as fires raged
  • The fires were fueled by high temperatures and dry condition

JERUSALEM: Egypt and four European countries sent aircraft to help Israel battle wildfires that have forced the evacuation of some small towns, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday, as a record heatwave looked set to worsen conditions.
At an emergency briefing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had appealed for international help to combat the fires, and that firefighting planes were coming in from Greece, Croatia, Italy and Cyprus.
Egypt, on the orders of President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, had also sent two helicopters to assist Israel, Netanyahu told reporters.
The Palestinian Authority and Russia had also offered help, Netanyahu said.
Israel braced for wildfires on Friday amid a major heat wave that shows no signs of abating.
Israel “really appreciates” the help, Netanyahu said, singling out El-Sisi for sending aid.
“I am deeply thankful for the readiness of neighbors to help us in a time of crisis, just as we help them,” Netanyahu said.
Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service said blazes in a key corridor between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were mostly under control but difficult weather remained a conflagration risk.
“As of this moment, this (containment) is being done in the best possible way, but the challenge is yet ahead of us given the weather conditions, the winds and the extreme heat,” Netanyahu said.
Some 3,500 residents of small towns in the path of the fires were evacuated on Thursday, officials said. Dozens of homes have burned down.

Evacuations
Thousands of people were evacuated from towns and dozens of homes were burned on Thursday as fires raged, fueled by high temperatures and dry conditions. Over 500 acres of woodland have burned, said Nitai Zecharya, an Israeli official from the Jewish National Fund, known for planting forests in the country.
Zecharya said that while firefighters had brought most of the blaze under control, officials remained “very stressed” about strong winds fanning flames and “spreading fires to other fronts.”
The cause of the fires remains unclear, but they erupted following the Jewish festival of Lag Ba’Omer, which observers mark with bonfires.
A sweltering heat wave is pushing temperatures in parts of the country up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 Celsius.