Three women, baby die after migrant boat sinks off Turkey

Turkey agreed with EU to control the number of refugees crossing into Europe. (AFP/File)
Updated 26 March 2019
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Three women, baby die after migrant boat sinks off Turkey

  • Turkish authorities rescued 11 people when the boat drowned
  • Almost one million refugees fled into the European Union through Turkey

ANKARA: Three women and a child drowned when a boat carrying migrants sank off the Turkish coast, the Turkish coast guard said on Tuesday.
Turkish authorities rescued 11 more people after the boat went down 1.7 nautical miles off the coast near Canakkale early Tuesday morning, the coast guard said in a statement.
State news agency Anadolu said the migrants were from Afghanistan and Iran.
Turkey, which has taken in nearly four million refugees from the Syrian war, is also an important route for illegal migrants trying to reach Europe.
Around a million people, mainly fleeing the conflict in Syria, crossed to European Union member Greece from Turkey in 2015 after the onset of the bloc’s worst migration crisis since World War II.
Ankara struck a deal with the EU in 2016 to stem the flow of migrants into Europe, and agreed to take back those landing on Greek islands in exchange for incentives and financial aid.


Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

Updated 23 April 2019
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Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

  • President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist group
  • Tehran reacted to the designation by naming the US Central Command a terrorist organization

DUBAI: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by US forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on US forces.
Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the US government a sponsor of terrorism.
“The bill authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests,” TV reported.
“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions.”
Highly loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC is a powerful force which controls much of the Iranian economy and wields political influence in the country’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said some 168 lawmakers out of 210 present at the parliament voted for the bill.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the IRGC and US military in the Gulf.
The new chief commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned in the past that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the United States.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, said in a statement on Monday that the president has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the heightening economic pressure on Iran showed that Washington was in panic.
“Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime — and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators,” Zarif Tweeted on Tuesday.
A commander of Iran’s IRGC said on Monday that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran is barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle East producers to major markets.