British foreign minister visits Iran for nuclear talks

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt leaves 10 Downing Street in London on November 14, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018
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British foreign minister visits Iran for nuclear talks

  • Jeremy Hunt: “The Iran nuclear deal remains a vital component of stability in the Middle East by eliminating the threat of a nuclearised Iran. It needs 100 percent compliance though to survive”

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will visit Iran for the first time on Monday for talks with the Iranian government on issues including the future of the 2015 nuclear deal, his office said in a statement.
In May, US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal, negotiated with five other world powers during Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration, and earlier this month the United States restored sanctions targeting Iran’s oil, banking and transportation sectors.
Hunt’s office said he would meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and would stress that the UK is committed to the nuclear deal as long as Iran sticks to its terms. He will also discuss European efforts to maintain nuclear-related sanctions relief.
“The Iran nuclear deal remains a vital component of stability in the Middle East by eliminating the threat of a nuclearised Iran. It needs 100 percent compliance though to survive,” Hunt said in a statement ahead of the visit.
“We will stick to our side of the bargain as long as Iran does. But we also need to see an end to destabilising activity by Iran in the rest of the region if we are going to tackle the root causes of the challenges the region faces.”
Hunt will also discuss Iran’s role in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, his office said, and press Iran on its human rights record, calling for the immediate release of detained British-Iranian dual nationals where there are humanitarian grounds to do so.
“I arrive in Iran with a clear message for the country’s leaders: putting innocent people in prison cannot and must not be used as a tool of diplomatic leverage,” he said.


Canada says China has granted consular access to second detainee

In this file photo taken on January 13, 2014, Michael Spavor walks with former US basketball player Dennis Rodman (not in picture) as they are surrounded by the media after arriving at Beijing International Airport from North Korea. (AFP)
Updated 20 min 32 sec ago
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Canada says China has granted consular access to second detainee

  • US prosecutors accuse Meng of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions

OTTAWA: Canadian diplomats received consular access on Sunday to the second of two men detained by China over the past week, Canada’s foreign ministry said in a statement that gave few details.
John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, met Michael Spavor, the statement said. Spavor and Michael Kovrig were both picked up after Canada arrested a senior Chinese executive on a US extradition request.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who said on Friday the detentions were unacceptable — told CTV his government was taking the situation very seriously.
“We have engaged with the Chinese officials to determine what exactly conditions are they being detained under? Why are they being detained?” he said in an interview aired on Sunday. McCallum met Kovrig for the first time in Friday.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that China should free the two men.
Spavor, a businessman, and Kovrig, a former diplomat, were detained after Canadian police arrested Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, on Dec 1.
US prosecutors accuse Meng of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions. Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, has said she is innocent.
China has demanded Canada free Meng and threatened unspecified consequences if it does not.
On Monday, influential state-back newspaper the Global Times said in an editorial that an escalation in the spat with Canada could be coming.
“In the struggle with Canada, China needs to prepare for the possibility of conflict escalation,” it said.
“Beijing must take the contest seriously and maximize the support of international public opinion, leaving Western media no smear to slander its counterattacks as ‘degradation of China’s opening-up.’“
Trudeau told CTV that Canada would continue trying to build up trading ties with China.
“We need to do so in a way that is true to our values and stands up for Canadians’ interests, and getting that balance right is complex. (It) has been made more difficult by recent trends,” he said.