Britain’s top diplomat in Iran as US oil sanctions back on

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The nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which the US pulled out of earlier this year, will be on the agenda. (AP)
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Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt first met with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Javad Zarif, shortly after arriving in Tehran. (AP)
Updated 20 November 2018
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Britain’s top diplomat in Iran as US oil sanctions back on

  • Iran said its still hopeful that Europe can salvage the nuclear deal, which the US withdrew from in May
  • Other signatories of the deal, including France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, have been searching for ways to save deal

TEHRAN, Iran: Britain’s top diplomat was visiting Iran on Monday, less than two weeks after the United States re-imposed oil sanctions on the country.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt first met with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Javad Zarif, shortly after arriving in Tehran. The two have already held talks in New York in September, on the sideline of the United Nations’ General Assembly.
The nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which the US pulled out of earlier this year, will be on the agenda, as well as an agreement aimed at facilitating financial transactions with Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported. Europe and Britain still support the nuclear deal and are looking for ways to salvage it.
Hunt is also expected to raise the case of British-Iranian charity worker, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, arrested during a holiday with her toddler daughter in April 2016 and acused by Iran of plotting against the government. Her family denies this, saying she was in Iran to visit family.
Since Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s arrest, British officials have routinely sought her release in talks with Iranian leaders.
Iranian state TV said Hunt would also meet Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, suggesting that talks over the fate of Zaghari-Ratcliffe were likely.
President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May. United Nations monitors say Iran still abides by the deal, in which it agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in return for the lifting of international sanctions.


US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

Updated 24 May 2019
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US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

  • Donald Trump says the additional troops would serve a 'mostly protective' role
  • The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region earlier this month

WASHINGTON: The US will strengthen its force in the Middle East with 1,500 extra troops, Donald Trump said Friday as the Pentagon blamed Iran for an attack on oil tankers off the coast of the UAE.

"We want to have protection in the Middle East," Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Japan. "We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective.
"Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we'll see what happens."

Shortly after his comments, the Pentagon accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) of being directly responsible for attacks on tankers off the UAE earlier this month, describing it as part of a "campaign" by Tehran driving new US deployments.
"The attack against the shipping in Fujairah we attribute it to the IRGC," said Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, adding the Pentagon attributed limpet mines used in the attack to the IRGC. He declined to describe "the means of delivery" of the mines.

The 1,500 extra troops will be made up of a deployment of 900 more forces, including engineers, and the extension of a tour by some 600 personnel manning Patriot missiles.

Officials said earlier that members of Congress were notified following a White House meeting Thursday to discuss Pentagon proposals to bolster the force in the region.
Earlier this week, officials said that Pentagon planners had outlined plans that could have sent up to 10,000 military reinforcements to the region. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan later said planners had not settled on a figure.
The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region this month in response to what it said was a threat from Iran.

*With AP and Reuters