Trump says US troops to deploy to other areas before leaving Syria

US President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Oct. 21, 2019, in Washington. (AP)
Updated 21 October 2019

Trump says US troops to deploy to other areas before leaving Syria

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Monday said he did not want to leave any American troops in Syria, but that US forces leaving the country now would deploy elsewhere before eventually returning to the United States.
Trump, speaking at a meeting of his Cabinet at the White House, also said it appeared a five-day pause negotiated last week in the Turkish offensive against US-allied Kurdish-led fighters in northern Syria was holding despite some skirmishes, and that it could possibly go beyond Tuesday’s expiration.
“I’m sure if we needed a little extension that would be happening,” he told reporters at the meeting.
Turkey began its cross-border operation following Trump’s decision two weeks ago to withdraw US troops from the area. USofficials said then that those troops were expected to be repositioned in the region. Some of them could go to Iraq.
A small number of US troops would stay “in a little different section to secure the oil,” as well as in “a totally different section of Syria near Jordan and close to Israel,” Trump said on Monday.
“That’s a totally different mindset,” Trump said, adding: “Other than that, there’s no reason” for US troops to remain. “They’re going to be sent initially to different parts,” he added. “Ultimately, we’re bringing them home.”
The American withdrawal has been criticized by US lawmakers, including some of Trump’s fellow Republicans, as a betrayal of Kurdish allies who for years have helped the United States fight the Islamic State.
On Monday, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the Pentagon was considering keeping some US troops near oilfields in northeastern Syria alongside Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to help deny oil to Daesh militants.
Trump defended the withdrawal decision saying, “we never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.”
“We helped the Kurds. And we never gave the Kurds a commitment that we’d stay for the next 400 years and protect them,” he added.
Trump also said he was fulfilling a campaign promise to disengage from international conflicts as part of his “America first” agenda as he seeks re-election next year.
“I want to bring our soldiers back home,” he said. “I have to do what I got elected on, and I have to do what I think is right.”


UN agency: Iran violating all restrictions of nuclear deal

Updated 05 June 2020

UN agency: Iran violating all restrictions of nuclear deal

  • Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015 with the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia
  • Known as the JCPOA, it allows Iran only to keep a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms

VIENNA: Iran has continued to increase its stockpiles of enriched uranium and remains in violation of its deal with world powers, the United Nations' atomic watchdog said Friday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported the finding in a confidential document distributed to member countries and seen by The Associated Press.
The agency said that as of May 20, Iran’s total stockpile of low-enriched uranium amounted to 1,571.6 kilograms (1.73 tons), up from 1,020.9 kilograms (1.1 tons) on Feb. 19.
Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015 with the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, it allows Iran only to keep a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds).
The US pulled out of the deal unilaterally in 2018.
The IAEA reported that Iran has also been continuing to enrich uranium to a purity of 4.5%, higher than the 3.67% allowed under the JCPOA. It is also above the pact's limitations on heavy water.
The nuclear deal promised Iran economic incentives in return for the curbs on its nuclear program. Since President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal, Iran has been slowly violating the restrictions.
The ultimate goal of the JCPOA is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb — something that Tehran says it does not want to do. It has been open about the violations and continues to allow IAEA inspectors access to its facilities to monitor their operations.
It is now in violation of all restrictions outlined by the JCPOA, which Tehran says it hopes will pressure the other nations involved to increase economic incentives to make up for hard-hitting sanctions imposed by Washington after the US withdrawal.
Though Iran has been hard hit by the new coronavirus pandemic, the IAEA said it has maintained its verification and monitoring activities in the country, primarily by chartering aircraft to fly inspectors to and from Iran.
It cited “exceptional cooperation” from authorities in Austria, where it is based, and Iran in facilitating the operation.