Iranian opposition urges Europe to reinstate nuclear sanctions on Tehran

Thousands of people, some of which are supporters of the National Council Of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its leader Maryam Rajavi, gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate at the German capital's Mitte district, in a protest against the current Iranian regime. (AFP)
Updated 11 July 2019

Iranian opposition urges Europe to reinstate nuclear sanctions on Tehran

  • Calls come as Europe weighs how to respond to Iran breaching 2015 atomic deal
  • Iran said it is enriching uranium beyond the limit set by the accord

LONDON: European powers must reinstate sanctions against Iran in response to Tehran’s  breach of the international accord to curb its nuclear program, the Iranian opposition in exile warned.
Europe had been attempting to preserve the 2015 deal since Donald Trump withdrew the US last year. But Iran has reacted to heightened tensions with Washington by enriching uranium beyond limits set by the agreement.
The escalation has placed European leaders in a difficult position as they scramble to  salvage the agreement.
Speaking to Arab News in London, Hossein Abedini of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI) Foreign Affairs Committee, said the only choice now is for Europe to ramp up pressure on Iran.
“The Europeans must immediately snap back sanctions,” Abedini said. “The brazen actions to breach the nuclear deal ... clearly show that the mullahs’ regime never abandoned its nuclear projects and it is trying to capitalize on a placating policy to pursue it once again.”
The NCRI, a Europe-based umbrella bloc of opposition groups that seeks an end to Iran’s theocracy, has spent years warning about Tehran’s atomic ambitions.

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But its message now comes at a critical time as Iran demands that Europe must maintain economic relations even as the US moves to isolate the regime.
A diplomat sent to Tehran by Emmanuel Macron held talks Wednesday with Iranian officials in a bid to stop the deal collapsing.
But at a recent rally in Germany, the NCRI’s president elect Maryam Rajavi urged Europe to stop appeasing the Iranian regime.
“Each euro traded with the clerics is a euro for fueling the Khamenei repression and war machine,” she said.
Any concession to Tehran, she added, increases the prospect of a “catastrophic war” by the clerics.
The 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program and halt the country gaining a nuclear weapon. In response, world powers removed sanctions that had crippled the Iranian economy for years.
But many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, said the deal had merely allowed Iran to accelerate its missile technology and fund a foreign policy of stirring up trouble in the Middle East. Donald Trump agreed, and swiftly withdrew the US after he became president.

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He reinstated punishing sanctions on Iran’s economy, reducing its main income of oil exports to a trickle. In recent months the US also ramped up its military presence in the region and accused Iran of attacking oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned European signatories of the deal last week that Tehran would “take the next step” in growing its enrichment of uranium from Sunday.
Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization confirmed Monday that Tehran had enriched uranium to 4.5 percent purity, beyond the deal’s limit of 3.67 percent.
Abedini said the announcement proved the Iranian regime has never given up its nuclear projects.
“Past experience shows that the regime has always deceived the international community about its real intentions,” he said.
“It is high time that the whole nuclear infrastructure of the regime is totally dismantled.”
US sanctions have also targeted senior figures in the Iranian regime, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Last month, Trump said he was imposing hard-hitting new sanctions, including on the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in response to the shooting down of a US drone.
Abedini said sanctioning Khamenei and the IRGC are “the most imperative steps which will deny the regime funds it needs to continue its destabilising policies and repression at home.”


Archaeologist Zahi Hawass: ‘There isn’t a country that doesn’t love Egyptian archaeology’

Updated 17 October 2019

Archaeologist Zahi Hawass: ‘There isn’t a country that doesn’t love Egyptian archaeology’

  • With only 30 percent of Egyptian monuments discovered, there is no rush to pursue the remaining 70 percent which remain hidden underground, says Hawass

 CAIRO: World-renowned Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass has affirmed the importance of Egyptian archaeology around the globe.

“There isn’t a country that does not love Egyptian archaeology,” Hawass, who was minister of state for antiquities affairs, told Arab News.

With only 30 percent of Egyptian monuments discovered, Hawass said there was no rush to pursue the remaining 70 percent which remain hidden underground.

“We don’t want to discover everything. We want to start by preserving and preparing the historical monuments which we have discovered, then start thinking about what is still undiscovered,” Hawass said.

So, restoration and preservation are the main goals for now.

With the new Grand Egyptian Museum still in the works, it seems likely that archaeology will be put in the spotlight once again, with more room for Egyptian artifacts to be showcased and appreciated rather than hidden, as in the old Tahrir museum.

“No one in the world doesn’t know Egypt. Egyptian archaeology is in the hearts of all people all across the world,” Hawass said.

This explains the immense popularity the new museum is expecting, located as it is, minutes away from the Pyramids of Giza.

Another reason behind its expected popularity is the attention ancient Egyptian figures have received across the years.

“Among the most famous ancient Egyptian figures, even for those who are not interested in monuments, we have King Kufu, who built the greatest pyramid, because that pyramid is something everyone talks about,” Hawass said.

He added that King Tutankhamun was popular because his coffin was restored whole, as was King Ramses II, the most famous of Egyptian kings, and Queen Cleopatra. Each of these figures gained fame due to popular tales and monuments attached to them.

Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass. (AFP)

Hawass plays a crucial role in drawing awareness about Egyptian archaeology around the world as well as focusing on the current situation in Egypt.

“I lecture everywhere (about archaeology)” he said. “Two to three thousand people attend each of my lectures. So I take advantage of to tell people everywhere that Egypt is safe and that Egypt is run by a president whom we have chosen. I am trying to change the perception about Egypt.”

As part of his efforts to promote Egypt and Egyptian culture, Hawass recently visited Japan.

“They (the Japanese) love archaeology. I would never have expected to be famous in Japan, but as a result of their love of Egyptian archaeology, they know me,” Hawass explained.

This is but a speck in the eventful career Hawass has led — which all started by accident.

“As a child I wanted to become a lawyer, so I enrolled in law school at 16 but realized that it wasn’t something I could do. So I left law and decided to study literature. There they told me about a new section called archaeology,” Hawass said.

After graduating Hawass went to work for the government, which he dreaded, until his first project came along. Workers came across a statue hidden inside a coffin which he had to clean. During the process he found his passion for archaeology. He went on to pursue his graduate studies on the subject.

“I went from failure to success thanks to one thing: Passion. When a person is passionate about something, he excels in it.”

Hawass did not point out his most successful or most preferred moment in his career, so full his life has been of memorable events.

“You cannot prefer one of your children over another. They’re all in my heart, all of the discoveries I have made.”