Iran says new US sanctions show talks offer ‘hollow’

In this photoreleased by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a ceremony outside Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (File/AP)
Updated 08 June 2019
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Iran says new US sanctions show talks offer ‘hollow’

  • Trump said he would be willing to reopen talks as long as Iran agreed to give up nuclear weapons
  • Tehran ruled out talks until the United States is ready to “return to normal”

TEHRAN: Iran said Saturday that new US sanctions on its petrochemical industry show the hollowness of President Donald Trump’s claims to be open to fresh negotiations with Tehran.
“Only one week was needed for the US president’s claim that he was ready to negotiate with Iran to be proven hollow,” foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.
His statement came after the US Treasury announced new sanctions on Friday against Iran’s largest and most profitable petrochemicals group PGPIC.
Trump said Thursday he would be willing to reopen talks as long as Iran agreed to give up nuclear weapons. But Tehran ruled out talks until the United States is ready to “return to normal.”
Mousavi called the new sanctions another instance of “economic terrorism” and a continuation of US “enmity” against Iran.
“America’s maximum pressure policy is a failed policy tried numerous times before by the country’s previous presidents. This a wrong path and the US government can be sure that it will not achieve any of the goals set for this policy,” Mousavi added.
Washington began reimposing unilateral sanctions on Iran after Trump abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear deal in May last year.
It reimposed a first set in August followed by a second in November.
On April 8, it designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a “foreign terrorist organization,” paving the way for sanctions against their sources of funding.
Announcing the sanctions against PGPIC on Friday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they were intended as a “warning that we will continue to target holding groups and companies in the petrochemical sector and elsewhere that provide financial lifelines to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp.”
The PGPIC group holds 40 percent of Iran’s petrochemical production capacity and is responsible for 50 percent of the its petrochemical exports, Treasury said.


Turkey: 8 dead, 31 rescued after migrant boat sinks

Updated 15 min 5 sec ago
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Turkey: 8 dead, 31 rescued after migrant boat sinks

  • The eight bodies were found inside the wreck of the boat at a depth of 32 meters
  • The number of people heading to the Greek islands from the Turkish coast has decreased since the height of the refugee crisis in 2015

ANKARA: A boat carrying migrants to Greece sank off the Turkish coast on Monday, leaving at least eight migrants dead, Turkey’s coast guard said.
The coast guard said 31 other migrants were rescued after the boat sank in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Bodrum. The region is close to the Greek island of Kos.
The eight bodies were found inside the wreck of the boat at a depth of 32 meters (105 feet), the coast guard said in a statement.
It said the search-and-rescue operation involving two coast guard boats, a helicopter and a team of divers, is continuing.
The private DHA news agency said rescuers are still searching for one other migrant who remains unaccounted-for.
It was not immediately clear why the boat sank.
Although the number of people heading to the Greek islands from the Turkish coast has decreased since the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, hundreds continue to make the crossing each week.