Iran will not give Europe more time to shield it against US sanctions

Spokesman of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Behrouz Kamalvandi said Iran will proceed with what they planned earlier. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 June 2019
0

Iran will not give Europe more time to shield it against US sanctions

  • Iran gave other signatories 60-days deadline to protect them from US sanctions
  • The country stopped complying with some of the commitments in the agreement since May 2015

LONDON: Iran said on Wednesday it will start enriching uranium at a higher level in July and won’t give European powers any more time to prevent this move by protecting Tehran from US sanctions.
Iran stopped complying in May with some commitments in the 2015 nuclear deal that was agreed with global powers, a year after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord and re-introduced sanctions on Tehran.
Iran said in May it would start enriching uranium at a higher level, unless world powers protected its economy from US sanctions within 60 days. The deadline is July 8.
The spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamalvandi, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency as saying: “Iran’s two-month deadline to remaining signatories of the JCPOA (nuclear deal) cannot be extended, and the second phase will be implemented exactly as planned.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said pulling out of some commitments under the nuclear deal was a “minimum” measure that Tehran can take.
In a speech broadcast on the state television, Rouhani said Iran will not negotiate with the United States under pressure.
On May 8, in the first phase of pulling out of some nuclear commitments, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced a halt to Iran’s sales of enriched uranium and heavy water to other countries.
The nuclear deal allows such sales so Iran can keep reducing its stockpiles below maximum thresholds.
Iran said on Monday it would breach curbs on its stock of low-enriched uranium in 10 days.
Britain, France and Germany plan a new push to keep Iran in the 2015 nuclear deal despite Tehran’s threat to violate one of its central limits, but they may be nearing the end of the diplomatic road they embarked on more than 15 years ago.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said that Europe was not cooperating with Tehran to buy its oil in the face of US sanctions against Iran's energy sector.
"The Europeans are not cooperating to buy oil," Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
Worries about a military confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents but Tehran denies responsibility.
But Iran’s Supreme National Security Council was quoted as saying on Wednesday by state news agency IRNA that there will not be any military confrontation between Iran and the United States.
“There will not be a military confrontation between Iran and America since there is no reason for a war. Accusing other countries has turned into a common practice among US officials as they try to pressure other counties,” Ali Shamkhani said.
Pentagon announced on Monday deployment of about 1,000 more US troops to the Middle East, citing concerns about a threat from Iran.


Sudan is heading in the right direction but much work remains, says US envoy

US is working with other governments in the region to build support for the transitional process in Sudan. (Reuters)
Updated 24 July 2019
0

Sudan is heading in the right direction but much work remains, says US envoy

CHICAGO: US Special Envoy for Sudan Donald E. Booth on Tuesday said that leaders of the military government and the opposition in the African nation are moving toward a reconciliation, but added “there is a lot” that still needs to be done.
Booth, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in June, is charged with leading the US efforts to support a political solution to the current crisis that reflects the will of the Sudanese people.
Both sides in Sudan agreed a political power-sharing deal on July 17 that set out a 39-month period of transition, led by Sudan’s new “Sovereign Council,” before constitutional changes can be made. Under the agreement, a military general will lead the council for the first 21 months, a civilian for the following 18 months, and then elections will be held.
“That political declaration really addresses the structure of a transitional government and not the entire structure,” Booth said. “(The July 17 agreement) has put off the question of the legislative council. It is a document that is the beginning of a process. We welcome the agreement on that but there are still a lot of negotiations to be conducted on what the Sudanese call their constitutional declaration.”
The envoy said he expects the Sovereign Council “will have to address what the functions of the different parts of the transitional government will be,” such as the roles and powers of “the sovereign council, the prime minister, the cabinet and, ultimately, the legislative cabinet. Who will lead that transitional government is still undecided.”
The crisis in Sudan came to a head in December 2018 when President Omar Al-Bashir imposed emergency austerity measures that prompted widespread public protests.
He was overthrown by the Sudanese military in April 2018 as a result of the unrest but the protests continued. Demonstrations in Khartoum turned violent on June 3 when 150 civilians were killed, sparking nationwide protests in which nearly a million people took part.
Booth said these protests had changed the dynamics in Sudan, forcing the military to negotiate with the people.
“The 3rd of June was a signal of the limits of people power,” he said. “But then there was the 30th of June, in which close to a million people took to the streets outside of Sudan and I think that demonstrated the limits of the military power over the people.”
Some have asked whether individuals might face prosecution for past human-rights violations, including Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Gen. Hemeti, who was appointed head of the ruling transitional military council in April after Al-Bashir was removed from power. Booth said this would be a decision for the new transitional government.
“One has to recognize that General Hemeti is a powerful figure currently in Sudan,” he said. “He has considerable forces loyal to him. He has significant economic assets as well. So, he has been a prominent member of this transitional military council. But he has been one of the chief negotiators for the forces of Freedom and Change.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Both sides in Sudan agreed on a political power-sharing deal on July 17 that set out a 39-month period of transition, led by Sudan’s new ‘Sovereign Council,’ before constitutional changes can be made.

• Under the agreement, a military general will lead the council for the first 21 months, a civilian for the following 18 months, and then elections will be held.

• We will have to wait and see what type of agreement Sudanese will come up with, says US envoy.

“We will have to wait and see what type of agreement they will come up with…we don’t want to prejudge where the Sudanese will come out on that. It is their country and their decision on how they move forward. Our goal is to support the desire for a truly civilian-led transition.”
Booth noted that although sanctions on Sudan have been lifted, the designation of the nation as a state sponsor of terrorism remains in force. He also said he expects the pressures and restrictions on journalists covering Sudan’s transition to ease as progress continues toward redefining Sudan’s government.
“As you can see, there is still a lot that the Sudanese need to do,” said Booth. “But we fully support the desire of the Sudanese people to have a civilian-led transitional government that will tackle the issues of constitutional revision and organizing elections, free and fair democratic elections, at the end of the transitional period.”
He added that the US is working with other governments in the region to build support for the transitional process, including expanded religious freedoms, an end to the recruitment of children for military service, and improving Sudan’s economy.
“I think it is important we give the Sudanese space to negotiate with each other, and to continue to express our support to get to the civilian-led transition government that will be broadly supported by the Sudanese people,” said Booth.