Iran orders US to pay compensation for slain nuke scientists

Iran orders US to pay compensation for slain nuke scientists
Iran is enriching uranium under decreasing international oversight as the country removed 27 surveillance cameras of the UN’s IAEA. (AFP)
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Updated 23 June 2022

Iran orders US to pay compensation for slain nuke scientists

Iran orders US to pay compensation for slain nuke scientists
  • Ruling underscores escalating tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program
  • It’s unclear how the court decision would gain traction

TEHRAN: A court in Iran on Thursday ordered the United States government to pay over $4 billion to the families of Iranian nuclear scientists who have been killed in targeted attacks in recent years, state-run media reported.
The largely symbolic ruling underscores the escalating tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s rapidly advancing nuclear program, with negotiations to restore the tattered atomic accord at a standstill.
Although Tehran has blamed Israel in the past for slayings targeting Iranian nuclear scientists since a decade ago, Iran did not directly accuse its arch-foe Israel in its announcement. Iran has not recognized Israel since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted the pro-West monarchy and brought Islamists to power.
The court mentioned Israel only in saying the US supported the “Zionist regime” in its “organized crime” against the victims.
It’s unclear how the court decision, like a raft of previous Iranian cases against the US as the two sides have engaged in a spiraling escalation of threats, would gain traction; there are no American assets to confiscate in the Islamic Republic.
Still, the court branch, which is dedicated to the review of Iranian complaints against the US, summoned 37 former American officials, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, as well as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Iran envoy Brian Hook and former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed tough economic sanctions on Iran that severed most of its oil revenues and international financial transactions.
President Joe Biden wanted to return to the accord, but talks have stalled in recent weeks over America’s designation of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, Iran is enriching uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels under decreasing international oversight. Earlier this month, Iran removed 27 surveillance cameras of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency in what its director warned could deal a “fatal blow” to the nuclear accord.
The families of three nuclear scientists who had been killed in targeted slayings, along with one nuclear scientist wounded in an attack, filed the lawsuit in Tehran, the country’s state-run IRNA news agency reported, without identifying the plaintiffs. The court ordered that the US pay $4.3 million in total compensation, including fines.
Iran and Israel have been locked in a shadow war across the Middle East and its waters. That conflict has escalated with the recent suspected targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists and military officials. In late 2020, Iran blamed Israel for killing its top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, with a remote-controlled machine gun while he was traveling in a car outside Tehran.
Iran also has placed sanctions on prominent American political and military officials for alleged “terrorism” and “human rights violations,” in retaliation for the US assassination of Iran’s top commander, Qassem Soleimani, two years ago.


Four deaths, 70 injuries after toxic gas leak from tanker in Jordan's Aqaba port

Four deaths, 70 injuries after toxic gas leak from tanker in Jordan's Aqaba port
Updated 9 sec ago

Four deaths, 70 injuries after toxic gas leak from tanker in Jordan's Aqaba port

Four deaths, 70 injuries after toxic gas leak from tanker in Jordan's Aqaba port

AMMAN: Four deaths, 70 injuries after toxic gas leak from tanker in Jordan's Aqaba port, according to state TV.

More to follow...


Saudi Arabia, Egypt hold talks on increasing investment

Saudi Arabia, Egypt hold talks on increasing investment
Updated 9 min 5 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, Egypt hold talks on increasing investment

Saudi Arabia, Egypt hold talks on increasing investment
  • The meeting followed the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Egypt,

CAIRO: A delegation from the Saudi National Real Estate Committee has held talks with the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones in Egypt on how to boost investment cooperation between the two countries.

The talks were led by Mohamed Abdullah Abdel Aziz Al-Murshed, who chairs the Saudi committee, and Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, CEO of the Egyptian investment authority. Also present were Tariq Shukri, who chairs Egypt’s real estate development chamber, and representatives of 27 leading Saudi companies in the fields of real estate development, industry, agriculture and building materials.

The meeting followed the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Egypt, on the sidelines of which 14 investment agreements were signed between the two nations, according to a press release.

Abdel-Wahab stressed the “importance of strengthening investment relations between the two countries, especially in light of what the current period is witnessing in providing unprecedented support to the private sector, and encouraging Arab and foreign companies to pump more investment into the Egyptian market, including the construction sector.”

He said the sector was “one of the main pillars of the national projects being implemented, such as the Suez Canal axis, and fourth generation cities such as the Administrative Capital, New Alamein and others, which aim to create smart cities based on electronic services and renewable energy, in addition to implementing a huge network of roads and bridges to connect national projects and new cities.”

The meeting looked at ways to enhance cooperation by exploiting the competitive advantages of Egypt as a destination for investment in the region, and reviewing the investment opportunities available.

It also highlighted the importance of strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries.

Abdel-Wahab said the investment authority was keen to attract more Saudi investment in Egypt by intensifying communication with major companies and introducing the Saudi business community to the latest developments there.


Ukrainians in Gaza describe shared experience of homeland and Palestinian struggle

Ukrainians in Gaza describe shared experience of homeland and Palestinian struggle
Updated 27 min 4 sec ago

Ukrainians in Gaza describe shared experience of homeland and Palestinian struggle

Ukrainians in Gaza describe shared experience of homeland and Palestinian struggle
  • Ukrainian local community in Gaza highlight similar struggles civilians face in the Russian occupation and Israeli occupation

LONDON: There are around 830 Ukrainian-born people living in Gaza, the largest population of foreigners living in the blockaded coastal zone, according to community leaders.

While for decades, their families in Ukraine have feared for safety in the Gaza Strip, these expats are now also fear for their families’ safety in Ukraine.

Natalya Hassoumi, a endocrinologist in Beit Lahia, was frequently unable to contact her family in Ukraine for days at a time while airstrikes targeted the Palestinian territory.

Now, she has not heard from her parents and siblings in Russian-occupied Kherson for three weeks.

“I never thought that war could happen in Ukraine, no food, no electricity … Gaza and Ukraine have the same problems now,” she told the Guardian.

The Soviet Union was a major supporter of the Palestinian cause, offering scholarships and business visas to people from West Bank and Gaza for decades, according to Hassoumi.

Many of those ties remained after Ukraine declared independence in 1991.

The vast majority of Ukrainians in Gaza are women who met their Palestinian husbands while studying at Ukrainian universities.

Approximately 120 Gaza families with ties to Ukraine were evacuated during the 11-day war last May between Israeli forces and Palestinian militant groups, which killed 256 people in Gaza and 14 people in Israel.

However, less than a year later, Viktoria Saidam and her husband Ibrahim have decided to seek refuge with Ibrahim's parents in the southern Gaza Strip, where the population suffers from electricity shortages, polluted water and political turmoil, according to the Guardian report.

Natalya Mabhouh has lived in Gaza since 1997. Her mother, sister are still in her home town of Kharkiv.

“When I came to Gaza the economic situation was good, there was peace, but we got used to wars and escalation since then. This has been a huge shock. Russians and Ukrainians are like one people … I still don’t understand how this could happen,” the hairdresser said to the Guardian.

In general, the Palestinian society have supported Russia over Ukraine, viewing it as a proxy superpower struggle with the US, Israel’s most important ally.However, neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Authority has taken a public position on the Russian invasion.

The Russian invasion has also heightened tensions between Gaza's Ukrainian and Russian-speaking communities.

Many local Ukrainians were upset after a pro-Moscow demonstration was held in March.

In March, many local Ukrainians were upset after a group of Russians held a pro-Moscow demonstration, causing many long lived friendships to end.“It is really difficult,” said Hassoumi. “My mother is Ukrainian and my father is Russian and suddenly people are not talking to me. I feel like many people don’t care about the details, but it’s an occupation, like the Israelis.”

The Ukrainian community in Gaza remains worried about the prospects of both their homeland and their adopted home.Ashraf Al-Nimr, a leader of the local Ukrainian community, told the Guardian: “We built a life here, so despite everything we will stay”.

He says that 15 of his wife’s family members in Mariupol have gone missing since Russia’s siege began. “We can help by giving people in Ukraine instructions on how to deal with war, how to hide, and raising money. Any way we can help, we will,” he said.


Lebanon must act against torture, human rights groups warn

Lebanon must act against torture, human rights groups warn
Updated 27 June 2022

Lebanon must act against torture, human rights groups warn

Lebanon must act against torture, human rights groups warn
  • Country’s anti-torture unit lacks govt budget, laws and courts ‘ineffective’

LONDON: Lebanese authorities must protect people from torture and ill-treatment in detention, a group of organizations including Human Rights Watch said on Monday.

The appeal came on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Aya Majzoub, Lebanon researcher at HRW, said: “Despite an improvement to Lebanon’s anti-torture framework on paper, torture remains prevalent, and accountability for torture and ill-treatment is elusive.

“Lebanon needs to show that it is serious about combating torture, and it should start by moving forward the many torture complaints that have been languishing before the judiciary without effective investigations.”

In 2019, 44-year-old Hassan Al-Dika died in custody reportedly as a result of torture. An HRW investigation found that judicial authorities failed to investigate Al-Dika’s allegations of torture before his death.

They had also tasked the same security agency that Al-Dika accused of torture with investigating his claims.

And in the case of actor Ziad Itani, who was accused and later exonerated of spying for Israel, Lebanese justice authorities have yet to take action regarding his claims of torture at the hands of State Security officials.

The Lebanese Parliament passed a law criminalizing torture in 2017. Two years later the government appointed five members to the National Preventative Mechanism against Torture.

But the unit has yet to be allocated a budget to allow the fulfillment of its mandate.

“The Lebanese authorities should promptly and impartially investigate all complaints of torture, allocate a sufficient budget to allow the torture prevention unit to get to work, and bring the anti-torture law in line with international standards,” Majzoub said.

Torture remains prevalent in Lebanon, despite complaints regularly being filed under the 2017 law.

The HRW warned that the 2017 law fails to abide by Lebanon’s obligations under the UN Convention against Torture, because it fails to criminalize cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.


Bahrain says Egyptian president to visit kingdom Tuesday

Bahrain says Egyptian president to visit kingdom Tuesday
Updated 27 June 2022

Bahrain says Egyptian president to visit kingdom Tuesday

Bahrain says Egyptian president to visit kingdom Tuesday

CAIRO: Bahraini Royal Court says Egyptian President to visit kingdom on Tuesday, will hold talks with King, the state-run news agency said.  

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa will receive President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his accompanying delegation upon his arrival in Bahrain tomorrow, Bahrain news agency said. 

During  the visit, the leaders will hold talks related to bilateral relations, in addition to the latest developments on the regional, Arab and international arenas.