Rouhani says talks with US are useless, but Zarif says Iran won’t start war

Iranian media described the Bavar-373 system as a competitor to the Russian S-300. (File/AFP)
Updated 22 August 2019
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Rouhani says talks with US are useless, but Zarif says Iran won’t start war

  • The president attended the unveiling ceremony of the Bavar-373 system
  • Rouhani said called talks with the US as “useless”

DUBAI: Iran will not start a war in the Gulf but it will defend itself, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday.

“Will there be a war in the ... Gulf? I can tell you that we will not start the war... but we will defend ourselves,” he said at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.

His comments came shortly after Iran displayed a domestically built long-range, mobile surface-to-air missile system.
Iranian state television showed President Hassan Rouhani attending an unveiling ceremony for the Bavar-373 system, which Iranian media have described as a competitor to the Russian S-300 missile system.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Rouhani said that “talks (with the US) are useless” as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers crumbles further.

Rouhani said “now that our enemies do not accept logic, we cannot respond with logic.”

He added: “When the enemy launches a missile against us, we cannot give a speech and say: ‘Mr. Rocket, please do not hit our country and our innocent people. Rocket-launching sir, if you can please hit a button and self-destroy the missile in the air.’”

Thursday's unveiling takes place against a backdrop of rising tensions with Washington since President Donald Trump last year withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal and re imposed sanctions.
Iran shot down a US Global Hawk drone with a surface-to-air missile in June for allegedly violating its airspace, which the United States denies.


Migrant workers still exploited in World Cup host Qatar: Amnesty

Updated 19 September 2019

Migrant workers still exploited in World Cup host Qatar: Amnesty

PARIS: Qatar is not fulfilling all its promises to improve the conditions of migrant workers in the country in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup, Amnesty International said Thursday.
In a report entitled "All Work, No Pay", the rights group said: "Despite the significant promises of reform which Qatar has made ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it remains a playground for unscrupulous employers."
The report came as French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani were due to meet in Paris on Thursday.
Sheikh Tamim also attended Wednesday's high-profile clash between Paris Saint-Germain -- owned by Qatar's state-owned investment fund -- and Real Madrid.
Doha has made efforts since being named World Cup hosts to improve the conditions of the migrant workers who make up a majority of the Gulf emirate's population.
In November 2017, a temporary $200 monthly minimum wage was introduced for most categories of workers with a permanent level expected to be set before the end of the year.
Exit visas granted at the discretion of employers, required by some workers to leave the country, should be entirely scrapped by the end of 2019 according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).
But Amnesty reported challenges faced by hundreds of workers at three construction and cleaning companies in Qatar who went unpaid for months.
"Migrant workers often go to Qatar in the hope of giving their families a better life; instead many people return home penniless after spending months chasing their wages, with too little help from the systems that are supposed to protect them," said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty's deputy director of global issues.
After coming under fire over the treatment of migrant workers, Qatar agreed with the ILO in 2017 to undertake labour reforms, including establishing new dispute resolution committees.
"We are urging the Qatari authorities to fully deliver what has been promised and end the shameful reality of labour exploitation," Cockburn said.
Amnesty cited the case of a Kenyan employee of United Cleaning who said he had to rummage for food in garbage bins after receiving no salary for five months.
The man said he had worked for two years and five months for the company without taking any holidays and was owed "a lot of money".
The companies all cited financial difficulties for the non-payment of wages, according to the report.
A Qatar government spokesman said the country had "made substantial progress on labour reforms".
"We continue to work with NGOs, including the ILO, to ensure that these reforms are far-reaching and effective," he said in a statement.
"Any issues or delays with our systems will be addressed comprehensively. We have said, from the outset that this would take time, resources and commitment."