US, EU voice frustration at Iran’s dithering on nuclear deal

US, EU voice frustration at Iran’s dithering on nuclear deal
If the talks don’t resume, the officials said the US would at some point determine that Iran was no longer interested in the benefits that the accord offered. (AFP)
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Updated 26 September 2021

US, EU voice frustration at Iran’s dithering on nuclear deal

US, EU voice frustration at Iran’s dithering on nuclear deal
  • Window of opportunity won’t be open forever, Tehran regime told

JEDDAH: The US and EU have voiced frustration at the UN over the slow pace with Iran, saying its new government showed no indication it was ready to revive a nuclear accord.
“The window of opportunity is open and won’t be open forever,” a senior US official said after days of consultations with allies at the UN General Assembly.
Iran’s new President, Ebrahim Raisi, indicated he backed a return to compliance with the 2015 accord as a way to lift sweeping sanctions imposed by former US President Donald Trump when he withdrew the US. But European nations said they heard nothing concrete as they met with Iran’s new Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who came to New York for the annual General Assembly.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a senior administration official said that US patience is wearing thin and that further delays while Iran continues to expand its atomic capabilities could lead Washington and its partners to conclude a return to the deal is no longer worthwhile.
“We don’t have yet an agreement by Iran to return to the talks in Vienna,” Blinken said. “We are very much prepared to return to Vienna and continue the talks. The question is whether, and if so when, Iran is prepared to do that.”
If the talks don’t resume, the officials said the US would at some point determine that Iran was no longer interested in the benefits that the accord offered or that its recent technological advances could not be undone by the limits it imposed.
“The possibility of getting back to mutual compliance is not indefinite,” Blinken said.
“And the challenge right now is that with every passing day, as Iran continues to take actions that are not in compliance with the agreement ... we will get to a point at some point in the future at which simply returning to mutual compliance with the JCPOA will not recapture the benefits.”
The UN’s atomic watchdog has said Iran is increasingly in violation of the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned: “The clock is ticking. We’re not going to wait two or three months for the Iranian delegation to come back to the table in Vienna,” Maas said.
“It has to happen more quickly,” he said.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that Amir-Abdollahian told him that Iran was ready to restart talks “at an early date” but gave no more precise time.
Barbara Slavin, an expert on Iran at the Atlantic Council, said that Tehran ultimately had an interest in returning to talks for the sake of the relief of sanctions which have taken a heavy economic toll.
“They’re taking their sweet time,” Slavin said. “I still think they have to come back to the talks. I think they need it,” she added.


Kuwait announces lifting of COVID-19 restrictions for double-jabbed

Kuwait announces lifting of COVID-19 restrictions for double-jabbed
Updated 46 min 43 sec ago

Kuwait announces lifting of COVID-19 restrictions for double-jabbed

Kuwait announces lifting of COVID-19 restrictions for double-jabbed
  • Social distancing restrictions will be scrapped at mosques as of Friday
  • Kuwait International Airport will operate at full capacity as of Sunday

LONDON: Kuwait has lifted COVID-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated people, the country’s prime minister said on Wednesday.

People will be able to hold conferences, social gatherings and weddings from Sunday, Kuwait News Agency reported.

Face masks will not be required outdoors but people will still have to wear them and socially distance whilst indoors.

Visas will also be issued to double-jabbed people wishing to enter Kuwait.

Kuwait International Airport will operate at full capacity as of Sunday.

Social distancing restrictions will be scrapped at mosques as of Friday.


Arab coalition says more than 80 Houthis killed near Yemen’s Marib

Arab coalition says more than 80 Houthis killed near Yemen’s Marib
Updated 20 October 2021

Arab coalition says more than 80 Houthis killed near Yemen’s Marib

Arab coalition says more than 80 Houthis killed near Yemen’s Marib
  • Arab coalition says airstrikes hit 26 Houthi targets, also destroying 11 military vehicles

RIYADH: The Arab coalition in Yemen said on Wednesday it carried out 26 attacks targeting “mechanisms and elements” of the Houthi militia in two districts near the strategic city of Marib in the last 24 hours.
The coalition said more than 82 Houthi militants have been killed and 11 military vehicles were destroyed in the military operations in Al-Jawba and Al-Kassara.
The coalition added in a statement that it will continue to provide support to the Yemeni National Army to protect civilians from Houthi violations.
This is the tenth consecutive day that the coalition has announced strikes around Marib, reporting a total of around 1,300 Houthi fatalities.
Most of the previously announced strikes were in Abedia, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Marib — the internationally recognized government’s last bastion in oil-rich northern Yemen.
Al-Jawba lies about 50 kilometers south of the city and Al-Kassara is about 30 kilometers northwest.
According to a government military official on Wednesday, the Houthis have made “small advances” in Al-Jawba amid clashes with loyalist troops.
The Houthis began a major push to seize Marib in February and have renewed their offensive since September after a lull.
(With AFP)


Egyptian, Sudanese armies launch first-of-their-kind joint exercises

Egyptian, Sudanese armies launch first-of-their-kind joint exercises
Updated 20 October 2021

Egyptian, Sudanese armies launch first-of-their-kind joint exercises

Egyptian, Sudanese armies launch first-of-their-kind joint exercises
  • The exercises will be held until Oct. 29 at Mohamed Naguib Military Base in Egypt
  • The training is part of plans by the Egyptian Armed Forces to exchange military experience with friendly countries

CAIRO: The Egyptian Armed Forces announced the launch of “Guardian of the South,” the first joint exercises with Sudan’s military to involve both countries’ border guards.

The exercises will be held until Oct. 29 at Mohamed Naguib Military Base in Egypt. The first phase includes lectures, practical exercises, and an exhibition of military equipment used recently to combat smuggling and infiltration operations at the border. 

The training is part of plans by the Egyptian Armed Forces to exchange military experience with friendly countries.

In parallel with this, Egyptian naval forces carried out separate exercises with their Greek, US and Spanish counterparts. 


Six loyalist fighters killed in Syria arms depot blast: monitor

Six loyalist fighters killed in Syria arms depot blast: monitor
Updated 20 October 2021

Six loyalist fighters killed in Syria arms depot blast: monitor

Six loyalist fighters killed in Syria arms depot blast: monitor
  • It was not initially known what caused the blast

BEIRUT: Six members of a pro-government militia were killed Wednesday in an arms depot blast in the central Syrian province of Hama, a war monitor reported.
Seven other members of the National Defense Forces militia were wounded in the blast, the cause of which remains largely unclear, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.


Kuwait’s emir launches process for amnesty pardoning dissidents

Kuwait’s emir launches process for amnesty pardoning dissidents
Updated 20 October 2021

Kuwait’s emir launches process for amnesty pardoning dissidents

Kuwait’s emir launches process for amnesty pardoning dissidents
  • This could potentially end a months-long standoff with opposition

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s ruling emir on Wednesday paved the way for an amnesty pardoning dissidents that has been a major condition of opposition lawmakers to end a months-long standoff with the appointed government that has paralyzed legislative work.
Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah tasked the parliament speaker, the prime minister and the head of the supreme judicial council to recommend the conditions and terms of the amnesty ahead of it being issued by decree, Sheikh Nawaf’s office said.