UAE and Bahrain urge world leaders to act against Iran 

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UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah at the UN General Assembly in New York. (Reuters)
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Bahrain's foreign minister Sheikh Khalid addresses the UN General Assembly in New York. (Reuters)
Updated 29 September 2019

UAE and Bahrain urge world leaders to act against Iran 

  • Sheikh Abdullah tells UN General Assembly that the nuclear agreement failed to change Iran’s behavior
  • Sheikh Khalid said Iran was the biggest threat to a stable and secure Yemen

NEW YORK: The international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program failed to change Tehran’s behavior, the UAE said on Saturday.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly debate in New York, foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said those behind the deal should have consulted countries in the region which fully understood.

The “agreement could not achieve the expected change in Iran’s behavior or compel Iran to abide by international law and good neighborliness.

“The nuclear agreement should have taken in to consideration the views of the countries of this vital region who fully understand its history.”

Sheikh Abdullah said the agreement should have included other aspects of Iran's activities, including its interference in other countries, its developmemt of ballistic missiles and its provision of arms to terrorist groups.

Speaking just before the UAE, Bahrain’s foreign minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed accused Iran of decades of terrorism in the region.

He said that in Yemen, where Iran supports the Houthi militia fighting the Arab coalition, Tehran’s interference was the main threat to the country’s stability.

“We shall persevere in our efforts to save Yemen and restore its security and stability,” Sheikh Khalid said in his address.

“We urge all Yemen national parties to unify their efforts with those of their legitimate government and to confront the illegitimate Houthi militia supported by Iran.”

Many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, have used the General Assembly to highlight what they describe as the ongoing destabilizing activities of Iran.

Tensions have increased throughout the year and peaked when drones and cruise missiles hit two of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities this month. Iran has been widely blamed for being behind the attack. 

The US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran.

Tehran has been accused of responding by lashing out with attacks on shipping in the Gulf region.


Hundreds of Syrians exit Lebanese town over tensions: UN

Updated 56 min 41 sec ago

Hundreds of Syrians exit Lebanese town over tensions: UN

  • UNHCR spokesperson: ‘Collective punishment... for a whole community for an incident involving one individual is unacceptable’
  • Those who fled, said they were chased out of Bsharre, a Christian-majority town, after a Syrian was accused of shooting dead a Lebanese resident

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: At least 270 Syrian families have left a north Lebanon town, as hostility toward them mounted over a murder allegedly committed by a Syrian national, the UN refugee agency said Friday.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees condemned “collective reprisals against Syrians in the town,” of Bsharre, saying many of the families fled in fear without taking their belongings.
“Collective punishment... for a whole community for an incident involving one individual is unacceptable,” a UNHCR spokesperson said in a statement.
Many of those who fled the Christian-majority town said they were chased out by Bsharre residents after a Syrian on Monday was accused of shooting dead a Lebanese resident, sparking widespread tension and hostility.
Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported forced evictions of Syrians in the wake of the murder, but Bsharre’s mayor denied that the Syrians had left out of fear.
An AFP correspondent in Tripoli saw dozens of Syrian families gathering outside a UNHCR building in the northern city.
A group of young men in Bsharre “assaulted us, threatened us and started a fire” in the house, Umm Khaled, a 31-year-old Syrian mother of five told AFP.
“We picked up our children and ran away to Tripoli,” located more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) east, she said.
Yassin Hassan, a 30-year-old Syrian who had lived in Bsharre for years, said he was beaten by a group of men.
“We ran away... without taking anything from our homes,” he told AFP.
Tripoli is among the most welcoming destinations in Lebanon for refugees.
Lebanon, which is grappling with an economic crisis, says it hosts some 1.5 million Syrians, including around one million registered as refugees with the United Nations.
UNHCR said it received “a large number of refugees from Bsharre” in its Tripoli reception center.
They were encouraged to find alternative housing but those with nowhere to stay were moved to shelters, a spokesperson told AFP.
The reasons behind the murder that fueled anti-Syrian sentiments in Bsharre remains shrouded in mystery.
The Syrian suspect in question has handed himself over to authorities, the army said.
A judicial source said investigations were still underway.
The mayor of Bsharre says the town is home to nearly a thousand Syrians.
Authorities have called on refugees to return to Syria even though rights groups warn that the war-torn country is not yet safe.