Iran may ‘reconsider’ atomic watchdog commitments

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Iran ‘would be forced to seriously reconsider some of its commitments to’ the International Atomic Energy Agency. (AP)
Updated 01 December 2019

Iran may ‘reconsider’ atomic watchdog commitments

  • The 2015 nuclear accord has been unraveling since last year when the United States unilaterally withdrew from it
  • The three European countries still party to the deal — Britain, France and Germany — have been trying to salvage it

TEHRAN: Iran warned Sunday it may “seriously reconsider” its commitments to the UN atomic watchdog if European parties to a nuclear deal trigger a dispute mechanism that could lead to sanctions.
The 2015 nuclear accord has been unraveling since last year when the United States unilaterally withdrew from it and began reimposing sanctions on Iran.
The three European countries still party to the deal — Britain, France and Germany — have been trying to salvage it but their efforts have so far borne little fruit.
“If they use the trigger (mechanism), Iran would be forced to seriously reconsider some of its commitments to” the International Atomic Energy Agency, said parliament speaker Ali Larijani.
“If they think doing so is more beneficial to them, they can go ahead,” he told a news conference in Tehran.
In May, one year after the US pullout, Iran began retaliating by scaling back its commitments to the deal — known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Following its latest step back this month, the European parties warned the JCPOA’s dispute resolution mechanism could be triggered if Iran continued down that path.
It covers various stages that could take several months to unfold, but the issue could eventually end up before the UN Security Council, which could decide to reimpose sanctions.
Larijani also suggested the current deadlock with the United States could be “fixed” if Iran’s arch-foe learns from the past.
Ahead of the 2015 deal, then US president Barack “Obama wrote a letter and said that I accept Iran’s enrichment, now let’s negotiate,” he said.
“If the American officials have just as much wisdom, to use past experiences, then they can fix this issue.”
The JCPOA set out restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of Western sanctions.


Jordan reopens trade gateway with Syria after month-long COVID closure

Updated 27 September 2020

Jordan reopens trade gateway with Syria after month-long COVID closure

  • Authorities imposed back-to-back handling of goods
  • The closure hit trade that had already shrunk because of the impact of COVID-19

AMMAN: Jordan on Sunday resumed its land border traffic with Syria, following a more than month-long closure, after applying new rules to prevent truck drivers spreading the novel coronavirus into the kingdom, officials and businessmen said.
They said authorities imposed back-to-back handling of goods to ensure Syrian, Lebanese truck drivers and others entering the kingdom maintain a social distance from Jordanian customs officials.
Officials said in mid-August they had to close the crossing, the main gateway for goods from Lebanon and Syria to the Gulf, after dozens of infections among border officials linked to a spike in cases in neighboring Syria.
Before the decade-old conflict in Syria, the Nasib-Jaber crossing was also a transit route for hundreds of trucks a day transporting goods between Europe and Turkey and the Gulf in a multi-billion dollar annual trade.
The closure hit trade that had already shrunk because of the impact of COVID-19 and the Caesar Act — the toughest US sanctions yet that came into force in June and prohibited foreign companies trading with Damascus.
“We have had millions of dollars of losses as a result of the closure,” said Mohammad al Daoud, the president of the Jordanian Truck Owners’ Association that represents over 17,000 trucks.
The country’s other land crossings with Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinian territories have been only open for commercial goods since a lockdown in March to stem the pandemic.
Syrian authorities said 70 trailers carrying, mostly fresh produce, entered Jordan on Sunday, including transit cargo heading to Gulf markets and Iraq.
While the crossing was closed, Syria’s only normally operating frontier crossing had been with Lebanon, which itself has no other functioning land borders.
Lebanon was also hit hard by the closure. It relies on the crossing for overland connections to all other countries because its only other frontier is with Israel, with which it has no ties.
“This crossing is an economic lifeline for all our land exports,” said Ibrahim al Tarshishi, the head of the Lebanese farmers’ association. (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; editing by Barbara Lewis)