Flood-hit Iran getting no financial aid from abroad due to US sanctions -statement

A car half-covered with mud is seen at a house in Lorestan province, Iran, April 4, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 07 April 2019
0

Flood-hit Iran getting no financial aid from abroad due to US sanctions -statement

  • Zarif said last week that US sanctions were impeding aid efforts to flood-stricken towns and villages

GENEVA: US sanctions have prevented the Iranian Red Crescent from obtaining any foreign financial aid to assist victims of flooding that has killed at least 70 people and inundated some 1,900 communities, the group said on Sunday.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that Washington was ready to help via the Red Cross and Red Crescent, but accused Iran’s clerical establishment of “mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness”.
“No foreign cash help has been given to the Iranian Red Crescent society. With attention to the inhuman American sanctions, there is no way to send this cash assistance,” the Red Crescent said in a statement.
It said the group had received some non-financial help from abroad which had been distributed to flood victims.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week that US sanctions — reimposed after Washington quit a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers — were impeding aid efforts to flood-stricken towns and villages.
“Blocked equipment includes relief choppers: This isn’t just economic warfare; it’s economic TERRORISM,” he said on Twitter.
The flood disaster, arising from exceptionally heavy rainfall since March 19, has left aid agencies struggling to cope and seen 86,000 people moved to emergency shelters.
The government has told citizens, and especially flood-affected farmers, that all losses will be compensated.
Iran’s state budget is already stretched under US sanctions on energy and banking sectors that have halved its oil exports and restricted access to some revenues abroad.
Iran acted on Saturday to evacuate more towns and villages threatened by floods after continued rain in the southwest.


Missile deal signals hot summer for Turkey’s transatlantic ties

Updated 48 min 30 sec ago
0

Missile deal signals hot summer for Turkey’s transatlantic ties

  • Turkey says buying Russian weapons system is aimed at meeting Turkey’s defense needs

ANKARA: Turkey has until next month to cancel a multibillion dollar S-400 missile system deal with Russia, or face harsh US penalties, CNBC reported on Tuesday. 

If Ankara does not cancel in favor of buying the US-made Patriot missile defense system instead, it may also be removed from Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet program, costing thousands of jobs. Turkey is currently producing about 800 parts for the world’s most advanced fighter.

The delivery of 100 F-35s to Ankara may also be halted, and other defense and industrial cooperation projects with the US may be put at risk.   

In his latest visit to Turkey in early May, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said its procurement of the S-400 was a national decision. 

However, the system, which cannot be integrated alongside other NATO systems and carries fears around data collection, has been a major source of disagreement between Ankara and Washington. 

The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) used to impose sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia, could be used against Turkey should the deal with Moscow proceed, though it is thought not until Ankara takes physical delivery of the missiles, which is expected to take place in July.

Sanctions could include prohibitions on banking and foreign exchange transactions, and the denial of export licenses. 

Individuals involved may also be subject to visa denials and exclusion from the US, as well as partial freezing or confiscation of assets.

Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East program at the US-based Foreign Policy Research Institute, says CAATSA would hurt Turkish interests, but would also limit US President Donald Trump. 

“He could technically veto (CAATSA), but the language in the legislation is not as straightforward as other waivers included in sanctions legislation. It is not a question of if Turkey will be sanctioned, it is how, and using which of the 12 available sanctions,” he told Arab News. 

“Turkey would do itself a lot of favors if it stopped saying this was a done deal and delayed acquisition to allow for more talks. But that is Ankara’s choice to make.” 

Turkish military personnel have already traveled to Russia for training on the S-400 system, but Ankara does not believe the deal will affect its involvement in the F-35 program. 

Turkish officials are also evaluating an offer made by the US in late March to sell them the Patriot system, with a decision expected by early June.

In a statement on Tuesday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the country was meeting its responsibilities under the F-35 project and added that buying the Russian system aimed at meeting Turkey’s defense needs. 

“Turkey prepares itself for the possible implementation of CAATSA sanctions. In our meetings with the US, we perceive a general rapprochement on issues including the east of the Euphrates, F-35s and Patriots,” he said. 

Besides pushing Turkey away from the Atlantic alliance, the potential CAATSA sanctions would also hit the Turkish economy, which is already in recession, with the Turkish lira losing more than 40 percent of its value over the past two years.

Timothy Ash, a London-based economist, said Ankara would be taking a huge gamble if they thought Trump would block sanctions, telling Arab News it would be “catastrophic for the Turkish economy.”

Trump already doubled US tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum last year, over the detention of an American pastor on espionage charges in the country. 

“There will be very real and very negative consequences if Turkey goes through with its plans to buy the Russia system,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.

An expected state visit by Trump to Ankara in July has not been officially confirmed.