Iran’s Zarif says US failed to build coalition in the Gulf

US navy ships conducting a replenishment-at-sea evolution with fast combat support ship in the Arabian Sea. (File/AFP)
Updated 05 August 2019

Iran’s Zarif says US failed to build coalition in the Gulf

  • Zarif said US allies are too ashamed of it
  • He also refused to meet with Trump

TEHRAN: The United States is unable to build a naval coalition to escort tankers in the Gulf because its allies are too “ashamed” to join it, Iran’s foreign minister said Monday.

“Today the United States in alone in the world and cannot create a coalition. Countries that are its friends are too ashamed of being in a coalition with them,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told a news conference in Tehran.

“They brought this situation upon themselves, with lawbreaking, by creating tensions and crises.”

Iran and the United States have been locked in a battle of nerves since May 2018 when President Donald Trump withdrew the US from a landmark 2015 deal placing limits on Iran’s nuclear program and began reimposing sanctions.

Tensions soared after the Trump administration stepped up a US campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran, with drones downed and tankers mysteriously attacked in Gulf waters.

In response, the United States has been seeking to form a coalition whose mission — dubbed Operation Sentinel — it says is to guarantee freedom of navigation in the strategic Gulf waters.

However, it has been struggling to build such a coalition, with European countries reticent and believed to be concerned about being dragged into a possible conflict.

Asked on Monday about reports that he had been invited to meet Trump in the White House, Zarif said he had turned it down despite the threat of sanctions against him.

“I was told in New York I would be sanctioned in two weeks unless I accepted that offer, which fortunately I did not,” said the Iranian minister.

The New Yorker magazine reported on Friday that Senator Rand Paul met Zarif in the US on July 15 and had Trump’s blessing when he extended an invitation to the Iranian minister to go to the White House.

The United States imposed sanctions against Zarif on Wednesday, targeting any assets he has in America and squeezing his ability to function as a globe-trotting diplomat.


Scores of civilians tortured to death in Houthi prisons in Yemen

The report documented 170 deaths - including nine children - from September 2014 to December 2018 in jails run by the Iran-backed militia. (File/AFP)
Updated 17 September 2019

Scores of civilians tortured to death in Houthi prisons in Yemen

  • The report highlighted 455 cases of torture committed by the Houthis
  • Houthis were responsible for the disappearance of more than 3,500 people

DUBAI: Scores of civilians, including women, children and the elderly have been tortured to death in Houthi prisons over four years, a human rights organization has revealed.

The Yemeni Coalition for Monitoring Human Rights Violations documented 170 deaths - including nine children - from September 2014 to December 2018 in jails run by the Iran-backed militia.

The report, which was revealed at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Switzerland also highlighted 455 cases of torture committed by the Houthis.

It was revealed last week that the Houthis were also responsible for the disappearance of more than 3,500 people in the same time period.

Those missing include 64 children, 15 women and 72 elderly people.