Iran foreign minister in India for talks after US sanctions

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. (AFP)
Updated 14 May 2019
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Iran foreign minister in India for talks after US sanctions

  • India was Iran’s top oil client after China
  • “India is one of our most important partners, economic, political and regional,” Zarif said

NEW DELHI: Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will hold talks with his counterpart in the Indian capital on Tuesday after New Delhi stopped purchases of Iranian oil this month in the wake of renewed US sanctions.
India was Iran’s top oil client after China, but halted imports after Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran and later withdrew waivers to eight nations, including India, which had allowed them to import some Iranian oil.
“India is one of our most important partners, economic, political and regional,” Zarif told Reuters’ partner ANI on Monday ahead of talks with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.
“We have regular consultations with India on various issues and I’m here to have consultations with my counterpart on most recent developments in the region as well as our bilateral relations,” he added.
Washington wants to block Iran’s oil exports after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 accord between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.
“Unfortunately the United States has been escalating the situation unnecessarily. We do not seek escalation but we have always defended ourselves,” Zarif said.
The sanctions have more than halved Iran’s oil exports to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) or less, from a peak of 2.8 million bpd last year. Exports could drop to as low as 500,000 bpd from May, an Iranian official told Reuters this month.
Iran is insisting on exporting at least 1.5 million bpd of oil as a condition for staying in an international nuclear deal, sources with knowledge of Iran-EU talks said on Monday.


New Quebec law stresses migrants’ skills, thousands must reapply

Updated 36 min 45 sec ago
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New Quebec law stresses migrants’ skills, thousands must reapply

  • The law is similar to a proposed plan from US President Donald Trump that would shift his country’s visa system from family-based immigration toward bringing in more skilled workers
  • The law will attempt to more closely match the skills offered by would-be immigrants with the needs of the labor market in Quebec

MONTREAL: The Quebec provincial legislature on Sunday approved a controversial immigration bill that will replace a first-come, first-served standard for accepting migrants with one tied to an applicants’ skills.
The law is similar to a proposed plan from US President Donald Trump that would shift his country’s visa system from family-based immigration toward bringing in more skilled workers.
The law will attempt to more closely match the skills offered by would-be immigrants with the needs of the labor market in Quebec, Canada’s second most-populous province.
Under the new law, some 18,000 applications now on file will be shredded, affecting as many as 50,000 people, many of whom already live in the province.
The 18,000 existing applicants will have to restart the immigration process.
The provincial government promised to expedite processing of their new applications, saying qualified workers would have answers within six months rather than the current 36 months.
The 62-to-42 vote on the bill took place around 4 am (0800 GMT) at the end of a marathon session convened by the governing center-right Coalition Avenir Quebec, immigration minister Simon Jolin-Barrette announced on Twitter.
“We are modifying the immigration system in the public interest because we have to ensure we have a system which meets the needs of the labor market,” Jolin-Barrette told the National Assembly.
All three opposition parties opposed the measure, calling it “inhuman” and saying the government did not justify dropping the 18,000 pending applications.
“Honestly, I don’t think this bill will be seen positively in history,” Liberal Party MP Dominique Anglade said, according to the Montreal Gazette. “It’s the image of Quebec which gets tarnished.”
Premier Francois Legault’s government resorted to a special parliamentary procedure to limit debate over the proposal.
His party won power in October with a promise to slash by more than 20 percent the number of immigrants and refugees arriving each year in Quebec.
The assembly reconvened on Sunday and after sometimes-acrimonious debate passed a bill banning the wearing of religious symbols by public servants including police officers, judges, lawyers, prison guards and teachers.
However the new law will only apply to new recruits, with existing employees unaffected.
The proposal, also backed by Legault, puts the premier at odds with the multiculturalism advocated by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.