Iran: Europe must guarantee nuclear deal will be upheld

Iran: Europe must guarantee nuclear deal will be upheld
Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi, left, is accompanied by chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Mohammad Eslami during a visit to the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant. (Iranian Presidency via AFP)
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Updated 11 October 2021

Iran: Europe must guarantee nuclear deal will be upheld

Iran: Europe must guarantee nuclear deal will be upheld
  • ‘The European capitals, including Berlin, have been passive spectators’
  • Nuclear deal was concluded in 2015 with the US, UK, China, Russia, France and Germany

TEHRAN: Iran on Monday called on European countries to guarantee an existing nuclear deal that the parties are set to revisit during a planned resumption of talks in Vienna.
“The European capitals, including Berlin, have been passive spectators,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters.
“We therefore expect all parties, when they arrive in Vienna, to know that they have no choice but to adhere to their obligations under the nuclear deal,” he said during his weekly news conference.
“They must give their clear assurance to the Islamic republic that this time, no party will violate the nuclear deal,” he continued.
The deal was concluded in 2015 with the US, UK, China, Russia, France and Germany and it offered Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for drastically limiting its nuclear program, while also placing it under UN supervision.
But the US unilaterally pulled out of the deal under Donald Trump and reimposed sanctions, prompting Tehran to gradually renege on its commitments.
Talks got underway in Vienna in April to revive the deal, but have been suspended since June, when Iran elected ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi as president, but Tehran said last week it expects talks to resume within days.
Khatibzadeh said German Chancellor “Angela Merkel and the European countries know that without Europe’s inaction, Trump would not have dared to withdraw from all the agreements or to violate the nuclear deal.”
During a visit to Israel, Merkel on Sunday called on Iran to immediately return to the talks.
“The message to Iran is unequivocal: return to the negotiating table immediately,” she said.
“There is no new text or deal being negotiated. It is simply a matter of technical talks to ensure the full implementation of the nuclear deal by all parties,” Khatibzadeh told reporters.
“The Vienna talks, I repeat, will take place and in the next days you will see more activity and diplomatic exchange around the nuclear deal,” he said.


Britain warns Iran it’s the “last chance” to sign up to nuclear deal

Updated 7 sec ago

Britain warns Iran it’s the “last chance” to sign up to nuclear deal

Britain warns Iran it’s the “last chance” to sign up to nuclear deal
LONDON: British foreign minister Liz Truss urged Iran on Wednesday to sign up to the 2015 nuclear deal, saying it was “the last chance” to do, just a day before talks were expected to resume.
“This is really the last chance for Iran to sign up and I strongly urge them to do that because we are determined to work with our allies to prevent Iran securing nuclear weapons,” she told the Chatham House think tank.
“So they do need to sign up to the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) agreement, it’s in their interests to do so.”

Libyan political body calls for election delay as disputes grow

Libyan political body calls for election delay as disputes grow
Updated 53 min 30 sec ago

Libyan political body calls for election delay as disputes grow

Libyan political body calls for election delay as disputes grow
  • The High State Council’s statement comes less than three weeks before the vote
  • The electoral commission has not yet announced a final list of candidates for the presidential race

TRIPOLI: A Libyan political body on Wednesday called for a Dec. 24 presidential election to be delayed to February amid growing jostling over the rules and legal basis of a vote aimed at ending a decade of instability.
The statement by the High State Council (HSC), an advisory body installed through a 2015 peace agreement but not recognized by all other Libyan political entities, comes less than three weeks before the vote.
In Libya’s complex, fractured political environment the extent of the HSC’s powers is debated, but its statement adds to the doubts surrounding the election.
The electoral commission has not yet announced a final list of candidates for the presidential race following a fractious process of court appeals over the eligibility of the 98 who registered to run.
The arguments over some highly divisive candidates, including major figures from Libya’s conflict, have already threatened to torpedo the contest.
Those disputes revealed deeper disagreements over the basis for a voting process that has already diverged from both the UN-backed roadmap that set the vote and a controversial election law issued in September by the parliament speaker.
The roadmap envisaged the election as a way to end disputes over the legitimacy of Libya’s rival political bodies, which were formed during earlier transitional periods following the 2011 revolution that ousted Muammar Qaddafi.
The HSC was drawn from members of a national assembly elected in 2012 who rejected the results of a 2014 election that created the current parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR).
Despite the 2015 political agreement that enshrined a legislative role for the HoR and an advisory role for the HSC, they do not formally recognize each other, though they have held sporadic peace negotiations in Morocco.
Some Libyans fear the disputes over the current election process could trigger a similar crisis to that surrounding the 2014 vote, when Libya split between warring eastern and western factions with parallel administrations in Tripoli and Benghazi.
The HSC statement on Wednesday said the presidential and parliamentary elections should both take place on the same day, as was originally demanded by the UN roadmap.
Laws issued in September and October by HoR speaker Aguila Saleh, a presidential candidate, set a first round presidential vote for Dec. 24 but delayed the parliamentary vote.
Saleh’s critics accuse him of issuing the laws without a quorum or a proper vote in parliament and after intimidation against some members. Saleh and his allies deny wrongdoing and say the laws were passed properly.


French top diplomat visits Algeria to mend relations

French top diplomat visits Algeria to mend relations
Updated 08 December 2021

French top diplomat visits Algeria to mend relations

French top diplomat visits Algeria to mend relations
  • Le Drian's trip, kept secret until the last minute, is a "working visit, to evaluate and relaunch the relationship"

ALGIERS: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian held talks in Algeria Wednesday in a bid to heal the latest rift between the North African country and its former colonial ruler.
Le Drian’s trip, kept secret until the last minute, is a “working visit, to evaluate and relaunch the relationship” and he is set to meet President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, a French foreign ministry source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Algeria’s APS state news outlet confirmed that the French diplomat had met his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra during “a working visit and evaluation of bilateral relations.”
Relations between Algiers and Paris have been strained for much of the six decades since the former French colony won its independence after a 130-year occupation.
President Emmanuel Macron has gone further than his predecessors in owning up to French abuses during the colonial era.
But ties collapsed in October after Macron accused Algeria’s “political-military system” of rewriting history and fomenting “hatred toward France.”
In remarks to descendants of independence fighters, reported by Le Monde, Macron also questioned whether Algeria had existed as a nation before the French invasion in the 1800s.
Coming a month after Paris decided to sharply reduce visa quotas for citizens of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, those comments sparked a fierce reaction from Algeria.
The country withdrew its ambassador and banned French military planes from its airspace, which they regularly use to carry out operations against jihadist groups in West Africa and the Sahel region.
The comments also prompted Tebboune to boycott a major November summit in Paris on Algeria’s war-torn neighbor Libya, vowing that Algeria would “not take the first step” to repair ties.
The dispute prompted a rare expression of contrition from the French presidency, which said it “regretted” the misunderstandings caused by the remarks.
An aide from Macron’s office said the French leader “has the greatest respect for the Algerian nation and its history and for Algeria’s sovereignty.”
Algerian Foreign Minister Lamamra welcomed that statement and, in the end, represented Algeria at the Libya conference.
Le Drian’s visit comes as Algeria prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its independence in March.
Macron, France’s first leader born after the colonial era, has made a priority of historical reconciliation and forging a modern relationship with former colonies.
Earlier this year, he recognized that French officers tortured and killed Algerian lawyer Ali Boumendjel in 1957.
Macron also in October condemned “inexcusable crimes” during a 1961 crackdown against Algerian pro-independence protesters in Paris, during which French police led by a former Nazi collaborator killed dozens of demonstrators and threw their bodies into the river Seine.
A report commissioned by the president from historian Benjamin Stora earlier this year urged a truth commission over the Algerian war but Macron ruled out issuing any official apology.
And as he seeks re-election next year, he is wary of providing ammunition to far-right nationalist opponents Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour.


Egypt sends medical aid to South Sudan

Egypt sends medical aid to South Sudan
Updated 08 December 2021

Egypt sends medical aid to South Sudan

Egypt sends medical aid to South Sudan

Cairo: Egypt’s military announced that under the directives of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, tons of medical and pharmaceutical aid have been sent to South Sudan.

The aid, transported by a military plane, was provided by the Ministry of Health and Population.

Officials in South Sudan expressed their appreciation for Egypt’s support, which they said strengthens bilateral relations.

During floods that swept South Sudan earlier this year, Egypt sent aid such as food and medical supplies.


Cairo selected as culture capital of Islamic world for 2022

Cairo selected as culture capital of Islamic world for 2022
Updated 08 December 2021

Cairo selected as culture capital of Islamic world for 2022

Cairo selected as culture capital of Islamic world for 2022

CAIRO: The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has announced the selection of Cairo as next year’s culture capital of the Muslim world.

Egypt’s Culture Minister Ines Abdel-Dayem told a press conference that this choice reflects Cairo’s position as a meeting place for different cultures, a creative hub and a center for thought and art.

She praised ISESCO’s efforts to celebrate the capitals of Islamic countries and promote relationships between them.