Iran official calls for ‘lobbying anti-Trump movements’

Iran's top foreign policy official said anti-Trump movements in the US would help alleviate pressure caused by US sanctions. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 October 2018

Iran official calls for ‘lobbying anti-Trump movements’

  • The “anti-Trump movements” would help alleviate pressure caused by Washington’s “extensive sanction-focused force.”
  • The US is due to complete the reimposition of sanctions on November 5, targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank

TEHRAN: One of Iran’s top foreign policy officials has called for negotiations with “anti-Trump movements” in the US to dampen the impact of sanctions, local media reported Saturday.
“America is not Trump,” said Heshmatollah Falahat-Pisheh, a conservative lawmaker who heads parliament’s influential national security and foreign policy commission, according to reformist newspaper Arman.
“There is a new diplomatic atmosphere for deescalation with America and it is fitting that Iran follows negotiation diplomacy and lobbying anti-Trump movements in America,” he added.
He said this would help alleviate pressure caused by Washington’s “extensive sanction-focused force.”
The US pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May and reimposed punishing sanctions on the country, hoping to pressure Tehran into what President Donald Trump calls a “better deal.”
The US is due to complete the reimposition of sanctions on November 5, targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has dismissed Trump’s offers to talk as “a dangerous game.”
But Mehdi Motaharnia, a Tehran-based political analyst, described Falahat-Pisheh’s proposal as “very meaningful” since it signifies a potential shift in conservatives’ stance on talking with the US.
“This comes from a conservative whose party members called (Foreign Minister Mohammad) Javad Zarif a traitor for negotiating with the US,” Motaharnia told reformist daily Hamdeli.
“But now we do not see such reactions when the head of national security and foreign policy commission proposes talks,” he added.


At least 13 people drown in migrant shipwreck off Libya

Updated 43 min 2 sec ago

At least 13 people drown in migrant shipwreck off Libya

  • The boat had set off from the town of Zliten, east of the Libyan capital of Tripoli
  • The Libyan Coast Guard said that it had ordered the rescue, and that search teams were scouring the area

CAIRO: Over a dozen migrants trying to reach Europe drowned in the Mediterranean Sea when their small dinghy capsized off the coast of Libya, the United Nations reported Friday, the latest shipwreck to underscore the deadly risks facing those who flee the war-afflicted North African country.
Libyan fishermen spotted the sinking boat late Thursday, said the International Organization for Migration, and managed to pull 22 people from the water, including those from Egypt, Bangladesh, Syria, Somalia and Ghana.
But at least 13 of the other passengers were missing and presumed drowned. Three dead bodies were found floating in the water, including one Syrian man and woman. The boat had set off from the town of Zliten, east of the Libyan capital of Tripoli, late on Wednesday.
The Libyan Coast Guard said that it had ordered the rescue, and that search teams were scouring the area for more victims.
“So many boats are leaving these days, but autumn is a very difficult season,” said Commodore Masoud Abdal Samad. “When it gets windy, it’s deadly. It changes in an instant.”
Following the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants hoping to get to Europe from Africa and the Middle East. Smugglers often pack desperate families into ill-equipped rubber boats that stall and founder along the perilous Central Mediterranean route. At least 20,000 people have died in those waters since 2014, according to the UN
Those who survived Friday’s disaster were taken to the Tripoli port, where they received medical care for their burns, a common consequence of leaked engine fuel mixing with saltwater, said Safa Msehli, an IOM spokeswoman.
Libyan authorities shepherded the survivors to the Zliten detention center, run by the Tripoli-based government’s Interior Ministry. Migrants rescued at sea and returned to Libya routinely land in detention centers notorious for torture, extortion and abuse. Amnesty International revealed in a report Thursday that thousands of migrants have been forcibly disappeared from unofficial militia-run detention centers.
The shipwreck, the second to be recorded by the UN in as many weeks, “signals the need now more than ever for state-led search and rescue capacity to be redeployed and the need to support NGO vessels operating in a vacuum,” said Msehli.
Since 2017, European countries, particularly Italy, have delegated most search-and-rescue responsibility to the Libyan Coast Guard, which intercepts migrant boats before they can reach European waters. Activists have lamented that European authorities are increasingly blocking the work of nongovernmental rescue organizations that patrol the Mediterranean and seek to disembark at European ports.