Iran to reduce nuclear deal commitments more unless Europe protects it

Iran threatened to reduce their commitments to the nuclear deal in stages if EU partners don’t help them with US sanctions. (File/AFP)
Updated 31 July 2019

Iran to reduce nuclear deal commitments more unless Europe protects it

  • Zarif said EU partners should guarantee that Iran would be able to make revenue from oil sales
  • Iran threatened to withdraw from the deal if EU partners don’t shield their economy from US sanctions

DUBAI: Iran is set to further cut its commitments to its international nuclear deal unless its European partners move to protect it from US sanctions by ensuring it can sell oil and receive income, its foreign minister told state television on Wednesday.
“Under current circumstances and if no action is taken (by the Europeans) we will take the next step (in cutting commitments),” Mohammad Javad Zarif said, adding that its European partners should guarantee Iran could sell its oil and collect the revenue.
Iran has said it will reduce its commitment to the nuclear accord in stages and may even withdrew from the pact unless the Europeans find ways to shield its economy from the US sanctions.

Iran also dismissed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s offer to visit and address the Iranian people as a “hypocritical gesture.”

“You don’t need to come to Iran,” Zarif said. He suggested Pompeo instead grant visas for Iranian reporters to travel to the US and interview him, accusing him of having rejected their requests.

On Monday, Pompeo tweeted: “We aren’t afraid of (Zarif) coming to America where he enjoys the right to speak freely.”

“Are the facts of the (Khamenei) regime so bad he cannot let me do the same thing in Tehran?” he said, referring to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “What if his people heard the truth, unfiltered, unabridged?“

US-Iranian tensions have soared since the Trump administration withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers last year and imposed crippling sanctions on the country. In recent months, the US has boosted its military presence in the Arabian Gulf while Iran has begun openly exceeding limits on its nuclear activities, saying it can no longer fully abide by the 2015 deal unless European signatories to the agreement provide some kind of economic relief.

The Trump administration has said its policies are aimed at changing Iran’s behavior in the region, not its government.

Zarif, a relative moderate within Iran’s clerically-overseen political system, was an architect of the nuclear agreement. The US and Iran cut off all diplomatic relations after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but the US allows Iranian officials to visit the United Nations headquarters in New York.


Turkish shelling kills 9 regime personnel in NW Syria: monitor

Updated 25 February 2020

Turkish shelling kills 9 regime personnel in NW Syria: monitor

  • UN says it was trying to double aid deliveries across a border crossing from Turkey from 50 to 100 trucks a day.
  • Idlib has seen hundreds of thousands of people flee the violence

BEIRUT: Turkish shelling Monday killed nine regime fighters in northwest Syria, where Ankara-backed rebels are fighting off advancing regime forces, a monitor said.
Syrian regime forces have since December clawed back parts of the last major opposition bastion of Idlib in violence that has displaced almost a million people.
Fighting raged on Monday, killing almost 100 fighters on both sides around the jihadist-dominated bastion, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.
Those included 41 pro-regime fighters, as well as 53 jihadists and allied rebels.
Overall on Monday, the regime advanced rapidly in the south of the bastion, but lost the town of Nayrab along the M4 highway to Turkish-backed rebels in the southeast.
Turkish shelling in that area killed four regime fighters near Nayrab and another five near the town of Saraqeb to its east, the Britain-based Observatory said.
Opposition fighters had already broken back into Nayrab last week after the regime seized it at the start of the month, but then lost it again several hours later.
Saraqeb, which lies at the intersection of the M4 and another important highway the M5, has been under regime control since February 8.
Earlier Monday, Russian air strikes killed five civilians in the Jabal Al-Zawiya area in the south of the bastion, the Observatory said.
In fighting on the ground, regime forces seized 10 towns and villages south of the M4, which links the coastal regime stronghold of Latakia to government-held second city Aleppo, it said.
State news agency SANA, for its part, said “units of the Syrian army continued to progress in the south of Idlib” province.
Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the regime’s aim was to wrest back control of stretches of the M4 still under the control of jihadists and allied rebels.
That would require operations against the towns of Ariha and Jisr Al-Shughur, both along the M4.
Analysts expect a tough battle for Jisr Al-Shughur, held by the jihadist Turkistan Islamic Party whose fighters mainly hail from China’s Uighur Muslim minority.
They are allied to Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, a group led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate which dominates the Idlib region.
Loyalist forces have already taken back control of the M5, which connects the capital with Aleppo.
They have also secured the region around the northern city, a major pre-war industrial hub.
Fighting in northwest Syria since December has forced some 900,000 people to flee their homes and shelters amid bitter cold.
The United Nations said Monday that the latest fighting was coming “dangerously close” to encampments of the displaced, risking an imminent “bloodbath.”
Mark Cutts, a UN humanitarian coordinator, also told reporters in Geneva that the world body was trying to double aid deliveries across a border crossing with Turkey from 50 to 100 trucks a day.
Syria’s war has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.