Sri Lankan government minister: At least 1 Muslim killed in riots

Sri Lankan security personnel walk near a damaged shop after a mob attack in Minuwangoda on May 14, 2019. A Sri Lankan province was under indefinite curfew after the first death in anti-Muslim riots in the wake of the Easter terror attacks, police said. (AFP)
Updated 14 May 2019

Sri Lankan government minister: At least 1 Muslim killed in riots

  • A Muslim man was hacked to death in Monday’s violence
  • The country’s largely Buddhist majority ethnic Sinhalese attacked Muslim-owned shops and homes

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Mob attacks on Muslim communities in Sri Lanka’s northwest have left one person dead and dozens of shops and mosques destroyed, a government minister said Tuesday, as communal violence worsened in the wake of Easter bombings that killed more than 250 people.
A Muslim man was hacked to death in Monday’s violence in which members of the country’s largely Buddhist majority ethnic Sinhalese attacked Muslim-owned shops and homes in several towns, said Rauff Hakeem, a Cabinet minister and leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.
With communal violence also reported in Sri Lanka’s west, the government imposed a nationwide curfew Monday and temporarily blocked social media and messaging apps.
Tensions have been running high in the Buddhist-majority Indian Ocean island nation since the April 21 attacks by seven suicide bombers who struck two Catholic and one Protestant church and three luxury hotels. The Daesh group claimed responsibility for the attacks, carried out by a local radicalized Muslim group.
Sri Lanka has a dark history of communal tensions. For more than a quarter century it was embroiled in civil war as Tamil Tiger rebels fought to create an independent state for or ethnic minority Tamils. When the conflict ended 10 years ago the UN’s conservative estimates said about 100,000 people had been killed.
Two United Nations advisers warned that the latest attacks against Muslims if could escalate further if not stopped immediately.
“The country is trying to move forward from a traumatic period of inter-ethnic armed conflict, but these attacks are pushing Sri Lanka backwards. If not adequately dealt with, the recent violence has the potential to escalate even further,” the advisers said in a statement.
The joint statement was released by Adama Dieng, the UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide, and Karen Smith, the UN special adviser on the responsibility to protect.


Iran dismisses ‘desperate’ US move to end nuclear waivers

Updated 28 May 2020

Iran dismisses ‘desperate’ US move to end nuclear waivers

  • ‘Ending waivers for nuclear cooperation with Iran ... has effectively no impact on Iran’s continued work’

TEHRAN: Tehran on Thursday dismissed the impact of what it called Washington’s “desperate attempt” to end sanction waivers for nations that remain in the Iran nuclear accord.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said the United States had made the move in a bid “to distract public opinion from its continued defeats at the hands of Iran.”
“Ending waivers for nuclear cooperation with Iran... has effectively no impact on Iran’s continued work” on what the Islamic republic insists is a purely civilian nuclear energy program, its spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi added in a statement published on the agency’s website.
The US decision, he said, was in response to Iranian fuel shipments to Venezuela — which is also under US sanctions — and the “significant advancements of Iran’s nuclear industry.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the United States was responding to Iran’s “brinksmanship” — its scrapping of certain nuclear commitments aimed at pressuring Washington to remove sanctions as called for by the 2015 accord.
“These escalatory actions are unacceptable and I cannot justify renewing the waiver,” Pompeo said in a statement.
President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the landmark agreement — also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — and reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018.
The remaining parties to the deal include Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
In May 2019, Iran announced it was suspending nuclear commitments to the deal, starting with removing limits on its heavy water and enriched uranium stockpiles.
It was in retaliation for US sanctions and what Iran deemed Europe’s inaction to provide it with the JCPOA’s economic benefits.
Washington had until now issued waivers to allow companies, primarily from Russia, to keep carrying out the nuclear work of the agreement without risking legal ramifications in the US economy.
It will end waivers that allowed the modification of the heavy water reactor in Arak, which prevented it from using plutonium for military use, as well as the export of spent and scrap research reactor fuel.
Kamalvandi said ending the waivers would not impact Iran’s continued work on the Arak reactor and “other equipment” by Iranian experts.