Iran ‘shooting itself in the foot’ with spying, diplomat warns

Wolfgang Ischinger attends the Munich Security Conference. (Reuters)
Updated 18 January 2019
0

Iran ‘shooting itself in the foot’ with spying, diplomat warns

  • Ischinger, a former German ambassador in Washington, blasted Iran’s actions

BERLIN: Iran is harming Europe’s efforts to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear accord with actions such as the case of suspected espionage involving a member of the German military, veteran German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger said on Thursday.

Germany, which together with France has led efforts to keep the agreement in place, expressed grave concern this week to a senior Iranian diplomat about the case of an Afghan-German man who was arrested on Tuesday for suspected espionage.

“The Foreign Ministry addressed the case unmistakably with the manager of the Iranian Embassy on Jan. 15 and expressed our grave concern about the suspected intelligence activities,” a ministry source said.

Ischinger, a former German ambassador in Washington, blasted Iran’s actions, but said it was illusory to think that Iran or other governments would curb their espionage activities even if there was a formal agreement covering such actions.

“Iran should be smart enough to realize that it is shooting itself in the foot because it is harming the political mood surrounding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) ... but that is no reason to rip up the agreement,” he said.

Iran’s actions in Germany and elsewhere were raising concerns and overshadowing efforts to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive, he said. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif will be one of more than 100 heads of state and other leaders at this year’s Munich Security Conference, to be held on Feb 15-17.


Two police officers killed after terror suspect blows himself up near Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo

Updated 19 February 2019
0

Two police officers killed after terror suspect blows himself up near Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo

  • The blast also killed the bomber and injured three other policemen
  • Egypt’s tourism industry has been struggling to recover from attacks and domestic instability

CAIRO: Two police officers were killed when a terror suspect blew himself up after he was surrounded by police near Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo on Monday.

The blast in the crowded Darb Al-Ahmar district also killed the bomber and injured three other policemen, the interior ministry said.

“As security surrounded the man and was set to arrest and control him, an explosive device in his possession went off,” the ministry said in a press statement.

The explosion took place after police chased the suspect who they believe had planted a bomb near a security staff close to a mosque in Giza on Friday, the statement said. Security officers had been able to defuse that device.

Monday’s explosion that took place near Al Azhar mosque at the heart of ancient Islamic Cairo damaged several shops.

“My shop’s front and windows were destroyed,” said Kareem Sayed Awad, a barbershop owner. “Not only that, but people have died. This is a tourist area and such incidents affect it.”

Egypt’s tourism industry has been struggling to recover from attacks and domestic instability that has hit the country in the years following a 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

In December three Vietnamese tourists and their Egyptian guide died when a homemade bomb exploded on their bus on the outskirts of Cairo, near the famed pyramids in Giza.

Authorities have been seeking to lure tourists back by touting new archaeological discoveries and bolstering security around archaeological sites and in airports.

Tourism has slowly started picking up. The official statistics agency says tourist arrivals in Egypt in 2017 reached 8.3 million, up from 5.3 million the year before.

But that figure was still far short of the record influx in 2010 when over 14 million visitors flocked to the country.

Egypt has also for years been battling an Islamist insurgency, which deepened following military’s ousting of Islamist president Muhammad Mursi in 2013.

The attacks have been mainly concentrated in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula but have also spread to the mainland.

In February 2018, security forces launched a major anti-militant operation focused on the Sinai Peninsula, aimed at wiping out a local affiliate of the Daesh group.

On Saturday, an attack on an Egyptian army checkpoint in north Sinai left 15 soldiers dead or wounded and seven of the suspected jihadist assailants killed, according to the military.
 

(With AFP)