US will sanction any countries that import Iranian oil

Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iran, looks on during a press conference in Kuwait City on June 23, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 28 June 2019

US will sanction any countries that import Iranian oil

  • US President Donald Trump targeted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top Iranian officials with sanctions on Monday
  • Tehran has been selling increased volumes of petrochemical products at below market rates in countries including Brazil, China and India

LONDON: The United States will sanction any country that imports Iranian oil and there are no exemptions in place, the US special envoy for Iran said on Friday.
US President Donald Trump targeted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top Iranian officials with sanctions on Monday, taking an unprecedented step to increase pressure on Iran after Tehran’s downing of an unmanned American drone last week.
“We will sanction any imports of Iranian crude oil,” Brian Hook said when asked about the sale of Iranian crude to Asia, adding that the United States would take a look at reports of Iranian crude going to China.
“There are right now no oil waivers in place,” Hook told reporters in London. “We will sanction any illicit purchases of Iranian crude oil.”
Tehran has been selling increased volumes of petrochemical products at below market rates in countries including Brazil, China and India since the United States reimposed sanctions on Iranian oil exports in November, Reuters reported this month.
“Iran does have a history of using front companies to evade sanctions and enrich the regime and fund its foreign adventurism,” Hook said, adding that Iran routinely violates maritime law to hide its oil exports.
Last year, Trump pulled the United States out of the multinational deal under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program, verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Washington has since re-imposed tough sanctions on Iran, aiming to cut the Islamic Republic’s oil sales to zero to force it to negotiate a broader deal that would also cover its ballistic missile capabilities and regional influence.
Iran wants to sell its oil at the same levels that it did before Washington withdrew from the accord.
“Iran has just rejected diplomacy too many times,” Hook said. “They have got to stop this sectarian agenda of creating a Shia corridor of power to dominate the Middle East.”
“This is a clerical regime that wants to remake the Middle East in its image — and that would deeply destabilize the Middle East to have regimes following the same Marxist theocratic regime,” he added.


Protests hinder Yemen’s efforts to combat coronavirus

Updated 28 February 2020

Protests hinder Yemen’s efforts to combat coronavirus

  • Amid complaints about the city’s poor health facilities, hospital staff and fearful residents began protesting

AL-MUKALLA: As workers in Yemen’s major port Aden began preparing a coronavirus quarantine facility at Al-Sadaqa Hospital, rumors swirled around the city claiming that if patients were locked inside the hospital, the disease would quickly spread through neighboring areas. 

Amid complaints about the city’s poor health facilities, hospital staff and fearful residents began protesting. People living nearby besieged the hospital, while health workers inside staged a sit-in, refusing to work unless the Health Ministry canceled plans to build the isolation room.

“They threatened to kill me,” Dr. Wafaa Dahbali, Al-Sadaqa Hospital manager, told Arab News.

The hospital’s administration was forced to ask the Health Ministry to move the facility to another location, she said.

“Now we cannot even bring in basic protective items such as masks or gloves since workers will think we still plan to build the quarantine room,” she added.

Yemen, which is gripped by a civil war that has killed thousands of people since late 2014, has intensified efforts to counter coronavirus. But due to crumbling heath services, lack of awareness among people and the influx of hundreds of African migrants via the southern coastline, health officials fear the virus could spread undetected across the country.

Yemen’s Ministry of Health in Aden on Wednesday said that Yemen is free of the disease and all Yemenis returning from China had tested negative. Health Minister Nasir Baoum opened a quarantine center at Seiyun Airport in the southeastern province of Hadramout on Sunday, and said that he had ordered all sea, land and air entry points to ramp up detection measures.

Financial constraints

Health officials across Yemen told Arab News this week that health facilities are working at full capacity to cope with the influx of war casualties, and cases of seasonal diseases such as cholera, dengue fever and H1N1.

The appearance of coronavirus in Yemen would increase the burden on the country’s crumbling and cash-strapped health facilities, they said.

Ibn Sina Hospital in Al-Mukalla provides health services to patients from the three southern provinces of Hadramout, Shabwa and Mahra in addition to treating victims of the conflict in Abyan and Jawf. 

Recently the Health Ministry decided to build a quarantine center at the hospital. Lacking sufficient space, a three-room kitchen was turned into an isolation facility.

However, Dr. Alabed Bamousa, the hospital’s director, told Arab News that the facility could not afford to furnish the unit with medical equipment and staff lacked proper know-how.

“We have nothing at the moment. We asked the ministry for the names of health workers who would be trained by the World Health Organization on dealing with coronavirus patients,” Bamousa said.

He said that workers are not being encouraged to wear masks and gloves in order to avoid triggering panic. 

“My viewpoint is that we shut up till we are ready,” Bamousa said.

Health officials at Al-Mukalla, one of Yemen’s busiest ports, have asked sailors to complete declarations showing their movements before docking.

Riyadh Al-Jariri, head of the Health Ministry’s Hadramout office, said that teams of six health workers in each district in the province are visiting Yemenis who have returned from China. 

In the streets, people say that they get information about the virus from social media rather than official channels or local media outlets.

Hassan, a shopkeeper, said that he learned about symptoms of coronavirus and protection measures from WhatsApp. 

“I know that the virus targets the lung and causes fever. We are advised to wash hands and wear marks,” he said.