US urges UN to restore tough missile restrictions on Iran after tests

The members of the United Nations Security Council hold a meeting to vote for a resolutions on controlling the turmoil in Venezuela on February 28, 2019 at the United Nations in New York. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2019
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US urges UN to restore tough missile restrictions on Iran after tests

  • A 2015 UN resolution “called upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles
  • Most UN sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted in January 2016 when the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran fulfilled commitments under the nuclear deal

UNITED NATIONS: The United States accused Iran on Thursday of defying a UN Security Council resolution with one ballistic missile test and two satellite launches since December and urged the council to “bring back tougher international restrictions” on Tehran.
A 2015 UN resolution “called upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons following an agreement with six world powers. Some states argue that the language does not make it obligatory.
In a letter to the 15-member council, acting US Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen said Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile on Dec. 1, 2018, and attempted to place satellites in orbit on Jan. 15 and Feb. 5.
“Iran has carried out these three launches in defiance of the expressed will of the UN Security Council, and such provocations continue to destabilize the entire Middle East region,” Cohen wrote.
Asked for a response to the letter, spokesman Alireza Miryousefi for the Iranian mission to the United Nations said Iran does not have any ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons “therefore none of the ballistic missile launches of Iran are covered by that resolution.”
At a Security Council meeting in December, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the body to toughen that measure to reflect language in a 2010 resolution that left no room for interpretation by banning Iran from “activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.”
Cohen’s letter called upon the council to “join us in imposing real consequences on Iran for its flagrant defiance of the council’s demands and bring back tougher international restrictions to deter Iran’s missile program.”
The United States has not yet proposed any concrete action by the council to toughen missile restrictions on Iran. Any such move would likely be opposed by veto-powers Russia and China.
Most UN sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted in January 2016 when the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran fulfilled commitments under the nuclear deal with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States. But Iran is still subject to a UN arms embargo and other restrictions.
The UN sanctions and restrictions on Iran are contained in the 2015 resolution, which also enshrines the 2015 Iran nuclear accord. European powers have been scrambling to salvage the deal following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the United States in May 2018.


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 26 April 2019
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues

RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.