Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei hinted at the likely response when he said that Tehran “can confidently predict that diplomatic initiatives will work well [to achieve] the desired outcome,” adding that the “diplomatic back-and-forths” are “the natural prelude to the return of all sides to commitments including the lifting of all sanctions in the near future.” If his statements reflect Tehran’s official position, then Iran evidently doesn’t intent to await the results of its presidential election in June, but is willing to begin talks now to exploit the momentum Biden has created.
The Middle East Scholar Barometer found that 67 percent of respondents said the foreign policy strategy that was most likely to produce „favorable results“ for the U.S. would be Biden returning „immediately“ to the current Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) before negotiating any other conditions with Iran. Also in the survey, released Tuesday, 75 percent of experts said the U.S. returning to the deal would reduce the likelihood of Iran getting a nuclear weapon within the next decade.
The Achilleas’ owner, Capital Ship Management Corp., alerted U.S. authorities to the possibility that it had unknowingly taken on Iranian crude, after initially thinking it came from Iraq, Bloomberg reported last month.
Washington ordered the Liberia-flagged ship to sail to the U.S. before Biden came to power on Jan. 20, according to people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. has gone to court to seize 2 million barrels of oil that it claims came from Iran, as Joe Biden’s administration shows little sign of taking a softer line on Tehran.
The Department of Justice filed a case in a U.S. district court, seeking to seize the cargo on the Greek-owned Achilleas tanker, according to a statement on Tuesday.
“Just a few hours ago, Biden officials informed us that after almost 65 years of working to build a nuclear weapon, the nation of Iran may be finally — and you’ll find this amazing — quote just weeks away from getting a bomb. After 65 years of trying. What a coincidence,” Tucker said, dishonestly omitting the key detail that Iran restarted its nuclear program because Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal.
„If Iran comes back into full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA, the United States would do the same,“ State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his first press conference Tuesday, „and then we would then use that as a platform to build a longer and a stronger agreement that also addresses other areas of concern.“
In an interview with CNN on Monday, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), created a joint commission coordinated by the EU’s foreign policy chief.
Iran’s parliament has set a Feb. 21 deadline for European signatories to the JCPOA to ease restrictions on the country’s banking and oil industries that are under pressure from Trump’s sanctions. If that deadline is not met, Tehran has vowed to end access for UN nuclear inspectors and further increase uranium enrichment.
“If the new administration does not meet its obligations and remove sanctions in short order, it will destroy the possibility for engagement within the nuclear agreement,” Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi wrote in The New York Times on Wednesday.
There was strong opposition to the Iran nuclear deal in the U.S., from both Republicans and Democrats, when it was negotiated back in 2015, which prevented it from being ratified by the Senate. That opposition remains.
Aguila Saleh, leader of a rival parliament in eastern Libya, no longer faces EU travel bans and asset freezes imposed four years ago, the EU said, confirming a Reuters report on September 9 that the so-called de-listing was planned.
Four cabinet secretaries, the White House national security adviser and the American ambassador to the United Nations announced the additional penalties at the State Department, two days after the administration said it had unilaterally reimposed U.N. sanctions against Iran — a declaration European allies have balked at and the U.N. Security Council has refused to recognize.
WASHINGTON: The Trump administration declared Saturday that all UN sanctions against Iran have been restored, a move most of the rest of the world rejects as illegal and sets the stage for an ugly showdown at the world body ahead of its annual General Assembly.
The European Union is set to announce sanctions on Monday against three companies from Turkey, Jordan and Kazakhstan which are accused of violating a UN arms embargo on Libya, diplomats told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The EU has a naval mission operating in waters off Libya which is tasked with policing the embargo and collecting intelligence on violators.
The new measures, announced pursuant to the US Executive Order 13928 dated 11 June 2020, are another attempt to interfere with the Court’s judicial and prosecutorial independence and crucial work to address grave crimes of concern to the international community as mandated under the ICC Rome Statute.
These coercive acts, directed at an international judicial institution and its civil servants, are unprecedented and constitute serious attacks against the Court, the Rome Statute system of international criminal justice, and the rule of law more generally.
The Court continues to stand firmly by its personnel and its mission of fighting impunity for the world’s most serious crimes under international law, independently and impartially, in accordance with its mandate. In doing so, the Court benefits from the strong support and commitment of two thirds of the world’s States which are parties to the Rome Statute.
The European Union is unwavering in its support for the universality of the Rome Statute and for the ICC. We will resolutely defend it from any attempts aimed at obstructing the course of justice and undermining the international system of criminal justice.
Pompeo also said Phakiso Mochochoko, the head of the ICC’s Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division, had also been blacklisted under sanctions authorized by President Donald Trump in June that allow for asset freezes and travel bans.
“Today we take the next step, because the ICC continues to target Americans, sadly,” Pompeo told reporters.
The US has imposed sanctions on the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court just weeks after she allowed a complaint of Israeli “war crimes” to proceed.
Announcing sanctions against the ICC’s Fatou Bensouda, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the court “continues to target Americans”, in apparent reference to investigations into US Army actions in Afghanistan.
Pompeo again warned Russia and China against that on Friday, threatening U.S. action if they refuse to reimpose the U.N. measures on Iran.
The process is expected to be messy, as China and Russia openly oppose the effort to snap back sanctions, and other parties to the deal — Germany, the UK, France — are also against the move. All of them question the legality of the US trying to reimpose sanctions under the 2015 nuclear pact, which the Trump administration announced it was leaving in May 2018.
The president was referring to the contested argument that the US remains a „participant“ in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — despite Trump’s withdrawal from it — and therefore can force a return to sanctions if it sees Iran as being in violation of its terms.
Just one country voted with the United States on Friday: the Dominican Republic.
Russia and China voted “no,” while major U.S. allies France, Germany and the United Kingdom were among the 11 abstentions.
The United States lost a bid to extend a UN arms embargo on Iran on Friday as Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a summit of world leaders to avoid „confrontation“ over a U.S. threat to trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Tehran.
Iranian authorities have been pressing South Korea to release between $6.5 billion and $9 billion dollars in funds that had been frozen since 2018 when the United States imposed its unilateral sanctions on Iran.
Authorized by Congress with no opposition, the so-called Caesar Civilian Protection Act amounts to an act of all out war on the very people it claims to protect. Targeting the Syrian Central Bank and penalizing any foreign company that does business with Damascus, the bill was conceived with the explicit aim of preventing the country from rebuilding after it defeated a proxy war imposed on it by the West, Israel, Turkey, and Gulf monarchies.
Charles Lister, a Gulf-backed de facto lobbyist for the Syrian opposition in Washington, inadvertently revealed the Caesar Act as an instrument of financial terror. In an op-ed for Politico this June, he forecasted “even greater levels of destitution, famine, and worsening criminality and predatory behavior” as a result of the new sanctions.
Predicting that “bread shortages are only a matter of time,” and projecting a famine in the near future, Lister cheerfully framed the human suffering caused by the sanctions as “an opportunity” for the United States to achieve regime change.
According to SouthCom, the „peaceful“ operation took place „in international waters, outside the territorial jurisdiction of Venezuela, 12 nautical miles (about 22 kilometers) from that country.
The U.S. sanctions approved by Trump target ICC employees involved in an investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
Venezuela’s military will escort Iranian tankers bringing fuel to the gasoline-starved country as soon as they enter its exclusive economic zone, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Wednesday.
The claim follows a request Venezuela made to the Bank in April to sell part of its gold reserves there and send the proceeds to the United Nations to help with the country’s coronavirus-fighting efforts.
A senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration told Reuters News Agency last week the US was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.
The Fortune, Petonia and Forest had crossed the Straits of Gibraltar over the last 24 hours; the Fortune is estimated to be around a week away from Caracas.
The deal, which is the nation’s first oil-for-food pact after the United States sanctioned crisis-stricken Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA in early 2019, is being investigated by the U.S. Treasury and the State Department.
Apr 27, 2020
Arreaza reiterated that the request for humanitarian flights responds to a request made by Venezuelans themselves to the Venezuelan Attention System in the United States.
Italy requested doctors from China, Cuba, and Venezuela to contain the coronavirus, while Cuba rescued a ship of British citizens. Meanwhile, US sanctions worsen the toll of the Covid-19 crisis in Iran and Venezuela.
Venezuela has swapped millions of barrels of crude for supplies of corn and water trucks under an oil-for-food deal struck with a Mexican firm, in an effort to secure imports amid tightening U.S. sanctions, according to the company and export schedules.
In a video that circulated on social media networks, an employee of Conviasa claims to Guaidó, who asked Europe and the United States the endure of the sanctions against Venezuela. “Guaidó, you are a traitor to your country”, the worker express.
Since 2019, the United States in particular, and some other countries due to pressure from Washington, began applying new sanctions to Caracas, which seriously affected its economy, people’s lives and Venezuela’s relations with other nations, Geng Shuang recalled.
“For us, it doesn’t matter who is sitting in the White House, what matters is how they behave,” he said, according to Der Spiegel. “The Trump administration can correct its past, lift the sanctions and come back to the negotiating table. We’re still at the negotiating table. They’re the ones who left.”
The United States is working closely with China to have it cut off altogether imports of Iranian crude oil, as the U.S. steps up sanctions pressure on the Iranian regime, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, told Fox News’ ‘Sunday Morning Futures’.
This year’s turbulent events in the Middle East—a major source of oil supply for the world’s largest oil importer, China—have had Beijing scrambling to salvage the Iran nuclear deal after the U.S. assassinated Tehran’s top military commander.
At the same time, China has significantly reduced its crude oil imports from Iran in recent months because of the U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports.
On Tuesday, the three European signatories to the Iran deal — France, Britain and Germany — formally triggered the dispute mechanism, which accuses Iran of violating the agreement and could lead to the restoration of the anti-Iran UN sanctions that had been lifted by the JCPOA.
Tehran has particularly been disappointed with the European trio’s failure to protect its business interests under the deal after the United States‘ withdrawal.
After patiently watching for more than a year and seeing no clear action from the other signatories of the nuclear deal, Iran invoked Articles 26 and 36 of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to let go of some of the limitations put on its nuclear work.
Since May 2018, we have worked together to preserve the agreement. The E3 have fully upheld our JCPoA commitments, including sanctions-lifting as foreseen under the terms of the agreement. In addition to the lifting of all sanctions, required by our commitments under the agreement, we have worked tirelessly to support legitimate trade with Iran, including through the INSTEX special purpose vehicle.
Germany, France and the United Kingdom moved on Tuesday to formally sanction Iran over claims that Tehran has violated the 2015 nuclear agreement.
“I’m pleased to inform you, the American people should be extremely grateful and happy. No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,” Trump said in remarks from the Grand Foyer of the White House.
A government spokesman said the nation will now base its enrichment levels on its own technical needs rather than the agreement’s limits, Reuters reported. The spokesman also said that Iran could reverse course if the U.S. curtails the sanctions it has imposed on Iran, the news service added.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the United States knows it cannot bring the Islamic Republic to its knees through its maximum pressure policy.
Pyongyang has promised to deliver a “Christmas gift” if there is no progress on easing up on sanctions. But any movement on that front seems nearly impossible at this stage considering talks with Washington have stalled and the North Korean regime is once again insulting Trump regularly. As tensions with North Korea increase, and especially if there is a test around the holidays, it would mark a huge blow to one of President Donald Trump’s major foreign policy initiatives. And it would happen right as he gears up for the presidential campaign.
Pompeo made the remarks in a „Celebrating Americanism in Our Foreign Policy“ speech at the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis.
„Americanism means taking care of our own,“ said Pompeo.
„We stopped international courts from prosecuting our service members,“ Pompeo continued, adding that the potential probe „was an outrage.“
In April, the ICC announced that it rejected a probe into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan. Outgoing ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requested the investigation in 2017, saying at the time that there was a „reasonable basis to believe“ that war crimes were committed by the Taliban, Afghan National Security Forces, U.S. armed forces, and the CIA. That move won the praise of human rights organizations and triggered over one million statements from alleged Afghan victims.
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a bill asking the State Department to determine whether Russia falls under criteria of a state sponsor of terrorism, potentially opening a way stricter sanctions.
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a bill asking the State Department to determine whether Russia falls under criteria of a state sponsor of terrorism, potentially opening a way stricter sanctions.
„As you do that step by step, that’s in essence how you develop some trust that lets you go to the final goal, which is elimination of nuclear weapons and the means to produce them, and integration of North Korea into the community of nations and the international economic system,“ he added.
Hecker was in Seoul to attend a forum on geopolitics and the denuclearization of the North hosted by the Korean National Diplomatic Academy and the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network.
„I’d be surprised if North Korea acted hostilely,“ Trump was quoted as telling reporters at the White House. „He knows I have an election coming up. I don’t think he wants to interfere with that. But we’ll have to see.“
The remark came as the North has increased pressure on the United States to meet its demand for a new negotiating proposal by year’s end, strongly suggesting that otherwise, it could restart testing of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
In the statement, the ambassador, Kim Song, said the United States‘ pursuit of „sustained and substantial dialogue“ was a „time-saving trick“ to benefit a „domestic political agenda.“
„We do not need to have lengthy talks with the US now and the denuclearization is already gone out of the negotiation table,“ he said.
The U.N. bans North Korea from launching satellites because it is considered a forbidden test of long-range missile technology.
After repeated failures, North Korea successfully put a satellite into orbit for the first time in 2012 in a launch from the same site. North Korea had another successful satellite launch in 2016.
VIENNA—European powers will take the first step towards re-imposing international sanctions on Iran in the coming weeks if Tehran further violates the 2015 nuclear deal, diplomats said.
The warning, an escalation of European pressure on Iran, puts the two sides on a collision course. A conflict is likely in early January, when Iran is set to announce fresh steps to breach the deal.
China’s thirst for Saudi Arabian oil continues to grow on the back of massive refinery joint ventures, and the nation is also drawing more crude from Russia, as imports from the U.S., Iran and Venezuela dwindle, fresh Chinese customs data for the year to November show.
(7.11.2019) Brazil and Israel were the only two countries to vote with the United States against the resolution. It was the first time Brazil voted against it, according to multiple reports.
The Venezuelan science minister has paid a visit to Iran’s Science and Technology Park in Tehran to buy medical equipment from Iran amid the US sanctions on both countries.
“How many Americans must die in the Middle East in the midst of these ancient sectarian and tribal conflicts?” he said. “I am committed to pursuing a different course, one that leads to victory for America.”
Wise Honest, the 17,061-ton bulker that was seized in May this year, was sold to an unidentified American company for scrap, according to local reports.
Officials in Beijing didn’t immediately acknowledge their decision. Phone calls to the CNPC rang unanswered on Sunday and its website bore no mention of the withdrawal.
However, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif separately complained Sunday about the U.S. campaign against Tehran and its impact on foreign investments.
BEIRUT — Syria and Iraq announced the reopening of a border crossing between the two countries Monday, a step toward the normalization of Iraq’s relationship with its western neighbor and a boost to Iran, which will now have an open corridor into Syria.
The crossing, which Iraqi officials declared open for travellers and trade, is crucial for Iran’s bid to cement its growing sway over a corridor of territory from Tehran to Beirut.
The opening of the crossing signified „the victory of the Iraqi and Syrian people over all terrorist groups, especially Daesh,“ said Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Khaled al-Rahmoun, using a term for Islamic State.
U.S. oil prices dropped more than 2% on Wednesday after Bloomberg News reported that President Donald Trump discussed easing sanctions on Iran in order to reopen negotiations.
WTI crude oil futures fell 2.9% to $55.75 a barrel, while Brent crude fell 2.28% to $60.96 a barrel.
Since Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, Tehran has been asking Europe to ignore U.S. sanctions and continue trade. Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron has offered Iran economic incentives in order to reduce tensions between Tehran and Washington.
Earlier on Monday, Rouhani expressed readiness to negotiate a way out of the crisis following America’s pullout from the nuclear deal.
“If I knew that going to a meeting and visiting a person would help my country’s development and resolve the problems of the people, I would not miss it,” he had said. “Even if the odds of success are not 90% but are 20% or 10%, we must move ahead with it. We should not miss opportunities.”
Experts confirm that the attack was a well-planned operation. Pipes are at a depth of dozens meters underwater. Such a difficult mining mission can be completed only by trained and well-equipped specs. This fact excludes the operating of the irregular militants.
(24.06.2019) The network carries crude oil from the coast to tankers at the port of Banias. The port city houses one of Syria’s two refineries. The other is located in Homs, in central Syria.
Last month U.S.-led forces blew up three oil tankers in Syria in the latest push against the Syrian government which is fighting rebel groups in their last remaining stronghold in Syria, in Idlib.
Syria is heavily dependent on crude oil imports through the Mediterranean, with a lot of the oil coming from Iran.
Analysis of oil tanker numbers at North Korea’s Nampho oil terminal compiled from over two and half years of satellite imagery shows continued and sustained activity at the site, despite strict UN sanctions restricting oil flows passed at the end of 2017.
The collection of over 300 images, taken at regular intervals between January 2017 and July 2019 by Planet Labs satellites, overall show an expanding oil loading facility growing to meet continual activity.
After the dramatic hijacking of the Stena Impero oil tanker carrying 23 crew by Iranian Special Forces, top brass were last night devising a list of options for a rapid military response.
It is understood they will seek the green light to deploy Royal Marines on British vessels travelling through the Strait of Hormuz to act as a deterrent to further aggression.
Gibraltar said the Iranian vessel, seized by marines in a daring landing in darkness off the coast of the British territory on July 4, was suspected of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce a range of measures targeting the Iranian regime following the seizure of the Stena Impero on Friday Afternoon.
Mr Hunt is expected to urge the European Union to support British calls for a host of diplomatic and economic sanctions to target Iran- including reimposing restrictions which were lifted after Tehran signed the 2016 nuclear deal.
Zarif told Russia’s TASS: „We expect them to implement their obligations to normalize economic relations between Iran and other countries.“ He added: „The Europeans – both E3 and the entire EU – are part of it [the deal] and they have to implement their commitments.“
China imported 1.08 million mt, or 255,065 b/d, of crude oil from Iran in May, down 66.7% from the five-year high of 3.24 million mt in April as the US‘ sanction waivers for Iranian oil expired on May 2.
Russian media said Moscow secured its first, and so far only, Iranian oil delivery in November 2017,
The report claims that local groups such as the Middle East Peace Forum and WerteInitiative (Values Initiative) worked together with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs in order to promote the resolution, an enterprise that included “donations to politicians.” The groups deny these charges, but the story has evoked a stormy public debate. Bild, the most widely-read newspaper in Germany, sharply criticized the report, calling it anti-Semitic.
he risk is that the president may be goaded into a war by those around him, particularly if things go wrong on the ground – and that Britain will be dragged in by a White House-appeasing prime minister.
Meanwhile the slow slog of diplomacy continues, with European foreign ministers due to meet again on Monday. The EU says that more members, and non-member states too, are buying into the Instex barter-style system created to enable trade. But it still needs proper funding.
In reality, the US sanctions and, partly, Europe’s inability to save the JCPOA are gradually radicalizing Iran and its society. Moderates in Tehran risk being accused of betraying their country. They are being undermined and isolated, and their positions are being taken away one by one. For instance, Heshmatollah Falhatpishe, a prominent moderate and pragmatist parliament member, recently tweeted that Iran should give Instex more time. But he’s no longer taken seriously, having just last month lost his position as chairman of parliament’s foreign policy commission to a staunch JCPOA enemy.
The draft resolution was approved with 28 votes in favor, 14 against and five abstentions, and was presented by Venezuela and Palestine on behalf of the Movement of Non-aligned Countries (NAM), except Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, and Peru, during the OHCHR’s 41st session.
The missiles were intended for the “protection of a French military unit deployed to carry out counter-terrorism operations”, the ministry added.
In its statement, the French ministry of defence also denied the Javelins had been given to Haftar’s forces, and it further reiterated that the arms were not subject to import restrictions because they were intended for the protection of French troops.
„The Grace 1 was detained last week in Gibraltar when it freely navigated into British Gibraltar territorial waters to a point two miles off the Eastside of Gibraltar, having previously exited the international waters of the Straits of Gibraltar, on a pre-arranged call for provisions and spare parts,“ the Gibraltar Government spokesman said.
The ship was „well inside BGTW“ when it was boarded and remains detained in that area, the spokesman added.
To illustrate that point, the Gibraltar Government issued a screen grab from the Port of Gibraltar’s vessel traffic monitoring system taken on the night of detention.
Spain, which challenges the British ownership of Gibraltar, has said the seizure was prompted by a US request to Britain and appeared to have taken place in Spanish waters.
„We’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab,“ said Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Washington has a new tactic in its ongoing campaign against Tehran: outsource the naval blockade of Iran and have allies seize oil tankers in international waterways – all in the name of “freedom of navigation,” of course.
India was one of only eight countries granted a waiver that allowed it to keep buying oil from Tehran, but that reprieve expired on May 2.
While India had said it would only recognize sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the country’s petroleum minister said in April that it would source „additional supplies from other major oil producing countries.“
Speaking to Mehr correspondent on Saturday, Mojtaba Zonnour, chairman of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said “we have done nothing in violation of the JCPOA. It was the US which caused the increase in our enriched uranium stockpile by banning its exports.”
“The US has also banned the export of Iran’s heavy water, which has also caused an increase in our heavy water reserves,” he added.
Analysis: UK officials say the aim is to calm the situation and not make it more incendiary – as some in Washington appear to be intent on doing
Mr. Rouhani has said that Iran would gradually stop complying with the restrictions if the European nations failed to provide some relief from the economic pain within two months of the latest constriction of the American sanctions — a deadline that falls on Sunday.
Iran was to sell off any enriched uranium above the limit on international markets in return for natural uranium.
Now, however, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would start to impose sanctions on anyone involved in the trade of natural for enriched uranium — as well as in the storage of Iranian heavy water that was in excess of limits.
Noting that the tanker was moving in the international waterways, he said that the UK has no right to exert its or EU’s unilateral sanctions against other countries extraterritorially.
„This is the same US bullying policy that European states have always protested to it,“ he
According to Spanish officials, the Grace 1, Panamanian-flagged tanker carrying Iranian oil, was seized by British patrol ships off Gibralter and was detained on the US orders.
Authorities said there was reason to believe the ship, called the Grace 1, was carrying crude oil to the Baniyas Refinery in Syria.
The refinery is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria, the chief minister of the government said.
In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, demanded an investigation and asked for explanations by July 15 on arms agreements with the United Arab Emirates.
„You are surely aware that if these allegations prove true you may be obligated by law to terminate all arms sales to the UAE,“ Menendez said.
He warned that the transfer would be a „serious violation“ of US law and „almost certainly“ break the UN arms embargo on Libya.
Syrian Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources stated on June, 23 the explosion of 5 pipelines nearby Baniyas city of Tartus province. (…)
Experts confirm that the attack was a well-planned operation. Pipes are at a depth of dozens meters underwater. Such a difficult mining mission can be completed only by trained and well-equipped specs. This fact excludes the operating of the irregular militants.
France, Germany and the United Kingdom informed participants that INSTEX had been made operational and available to all EU Member States and that the first transactions are being processed. Ongoing complementary cooperation with the Iranian corresponding entity (STFI), which has already been established, will speed up. They confirmed that some EU Member States were in the process of joining INSTEX as shareholders, the special purpose vehicle aimed at facilitating legitimate business with Iran. They are also working to open INSTEX to economic operators from third countries.
On Friday, a joint commission meeting of the Iranian nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), headed by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and EU Deputy Foreign Policy Chief Helga Schmid, will gather representatives from the deal’s remaining signatories in Vienna to discuss implementing the accord.
China always stands on the side of peace and opposes war, Xi said when meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ahead of a summit of the Group of 20 major economies in the Japanese city of Osaka.
But while a series of U.S.-imposed, Trump-approved sanctions have angered Tehran amid rising tensions between the two countries, the president might not be the antagonist in Tehran’s eyes, said Trita Parsi, the head of the National Iranian American Council during a Monday appearance on The Hill’s Rising.
Instead, he argues, that National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are the problem.
Iran has opened a new air terminal at Tehran’s main international airport, designed and built by local contractors after European companies pulled out of the project in 2017.
– In a state visit this week, the Chinese president is expected to provide massive aid to the North, with reports anticipating at least 100,000 tonnes of food
– International food organisations say 10 million people, or 40 per cent of North Korea’s population, are in urgent need of sustenance
It is particularly noteworthy that Xi’s visit to the North is taking place right before the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28 and 29. President Trump is expected to visit South Korea around the time of the G20 Summit for a meeting with President Moon Jae-in. Therefore, the key players in the denuclearization talks are gathering in this part of the world at the same time.
Kang returned from a two-day trip to Russia, where she held talks with her counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on key bilateral issues, including the latest on North Korea’s denuclearization.
South Korea’s presidential office publicly toned down its expectations for an early inter-Korean summit Tuesday, a day after Beijing and Pyongyang announced this week’s bilateral summit.
Move is first such trip by a Chinese president in 14 years and comes amid stalling nuclear talks with the US
Earlier Tuesday, Bolton had told the Wall Street Journal at a speaking event in Washington that North Korea is not complying with the terms agreed upon during Trump’s first summit with Kim, in Singapore last year.
The British, French and German Ambassadors to Iran welcomed representatives from INSTEX and E3 technical experts to Tehran this week for discussions with the relevant Iranian experts and counterparts. These discussions, funded by the EU TAIEX instrument, have helped to advance our collective efforts to ensure trade with Iran that is compliant with EU and international law can continue, including through the special purpose vehicle “INSTEX”.
We understand the economic pressure the Iranian people are facing. We are committed to working with Iran to deliver INSTEX’s first transaction as quickly as possible.
INSTEX will probably fail or prove to be wholly inadequate in the short term. The dollar’s dominance in global transactions — which has been a huge benefit for the United States — will be hard to displace, but INSTEX is a warning sign, the canary in the coal mine. The United States’ closest allies are working hard to chip away at a crucial underpinning of U.S. global power.
Iran also established a counterparty to INSTEX, called Special Trade and Financing Instrument between Iran and Europe (STFI) in April in a bid to speed up the work.
Those European efforts have centered on the creation of a payment channel with Iran, which in theory could allow European companies to keep trading with the country despite U.S. sanctions. The Paris-based Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) was formally registered by Britain, France and Germany more than three months ago and is expected to operate essentially like a clearinghouse for credit points.
That confirms a few things that we already suspected. First, it tells us that the U.S. is determined to cut off all legitimate trade with Iran, including trade in supposedly exempted humanitarian goods. They are actively working to cause the Iranian people as much misery as they can. Second, it tells us that the administration is willing to wreck its relations with some of its closest European allies to pursue their economic war against the Iranian people. U.S. interests and longstanding relationships with important allies are being sacrificed for the sake of a vindictive and outrageous policy of collective punishment against a population of more than eighty million people.
Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, signaled in a May 7 letter obtained by Bloomberg that Instex, the European vehicle to sustain trade with Tehran, and anyone associated with it could be barred from the U.S. financial system if it goes into effect.
Donald Trump’s staff have threatened sanctions against the financial body created by Germany, the UK and France to preserve trade with Iran in defiance of US trade barriers.
Sigal Mandelker of the US Treasury Department threatened Instex – the European body established to sustain trade with Iran – and anyone associated with it with exclusion from the US financial system.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, landed in Japan on Saturday on a largely ceremonial visit meant to showcase strong ties with Tokyo even as trade tensions loom.
National security adviser John Bolton said Saturday that sanctions against North Korea must be kept in place after the rogue country violated a United Nations Security Council resolution when it test-fired short-range missiles last week. The Associated Press reported that Bolton, speaking in Tokyo ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s state visit, also defended the U.S. seizure of a North Korean cargo ship May 14.
The US is to send 1,500 troops to the Middle East to counter the „ongoing threat posed by Iranian forces“, the acting defence secretary says.
Congress has been notified about the plans, Patrick Shanahan said in a statement. Fighter jets, drones and other weaponry will also be deployed.
The sudden visit to New Delhi by the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif for a meeting on May 14 with the outgoing External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the dying days of the Modi government underscores dramatically how much Tehran has been traumatised by the Indian decision under American pressure to summarily stop all imports of Iranian oil w.e.f May 2.
Japan would like to maintain, and develop, its traditionally friendly ties with Iran, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday. At the start of a meeting in the Japanese capital, Abe also told Zarif that he was concerned about growing tension in the Middle East.
Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza reiterated Tuesday that the illegal halt of a transfer of US$1.7 billion from Portugal’s Novo Banco on May 10 “affects all Venezuelans,” and clearly shows that Portugal is following orders from the United States (U.S.) government.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met with his Indian counterpart in New Delhi, days after India decided to follow U.S. restrictions on buying Iranian oil.
Indian decision comes amid pressure from the Trump administration, which had called on India and 7 other countries to stop the import of Iranian crude.
It was a question that just as recently as last week was still undecided. Would Beijing kowtow to Washington’s demand that it stop importing Iranian oil at the start of May after the 180-day import waiver period ended? The answer, at least for now, is that Beijing will comply.
Details of the alleged sabotage to two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati oil tanker on Sunday remained unclear, and none of the nations to which the vessels belong had assigned any blame.
However, on Monday American officials told CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin that the initial assessment of a U.S. team sent to investigate the incidents was that Iran or Iranian-backed proxies had used explosives to blow holes in the four ships.
“This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service,” said John C. Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division. The complaint was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday by the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.
The civil action came as North Korea’s weapons tests over the past several days have threatened the disarmament discussions that President Trump opened.
Now Iran’s leaders, by threatening the deal, are playing in to Trump’s hands and doing exactly what he wants them to do. They could also be giving Bolton exactly the excuse he is looking for.
He added that he will now give Europe 60 days to choose between Trump’s sanctions or rescuing the nuclear deal by restarting oil trade with Iran. If Europe doesn’t comply, Iran will restart construction of a key nuclear reactor and ignore the limits on the enrichment of uranium, Rouhani said. “The path we have chosen today is not the path of war; it is the path of diplomacy,” he added.
The remaining participants to the JCPoA are committed to working on the preservation and maintenance of financial channels and exports for Iran, together with third countries interested in supporting the JCPoA. We are determined to pursue efforts, together with other European partners, to enable the continuation of legitimate trade with Iran, including through the operationalization of the special purpose vehicle „INSTEX“. In this regard, the shareholders are committed to significantly increasing their financial contributions to INSTEX’s operational budget. We encourage all countries, including Russia and China as JCPOA participants, to make their best efforts to pursue the legitimate trade that the agreement allows for, through concrete steps.
Tehran is likely to revive part of its halted nuclear programme on Wednesday in response to the U.S. move but does not plan to pull out of the agreement itself, state media has said.
Syrian rebels backed by Turkey said on Monday that Moscow and its Syrian government ally were trying to wrest control of two major highways in their last enclave in the northwest of the country in a bid to shore up Syria’s sanction-hit economy.
Vladimir Putin informed Donald Trump of the key results of his April 25 meeting in Vladivostok with Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK Kim Jong-un, stressing that Pyongyang’s good-faith fulfilment of its commitments should be accompanied by reciprocal steps to ease the sanctions pressure on North Korea. Both parties noted the importance of consistent progress towards denuclearisation and achieving long-term normalisation on the Korean Peninsula.
„They spoke about North Korea for a good bit of time on the call and reiterated both the commitment and the need for denuclearization,“ Sanders told reporters at the White House.
„And the president said several times on this front as well the need and importance of Russia stepping up and continuing to help and put pressure on North Korea to denuclearize,“ she said. „And that was again the focus of the president’s comment on that front.“
The North fired an unidentified short-range missile from the city of Wonsan around 9 a.m. (0000 GMT), South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. The Office said it was conducting joint analysis with the United States.
“A lot of the policies we have put in place have helped lead the devastation in Venezuela. And we’ve set the stage for where we’re arriving today,“ she said and added that „this particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States.”
We find that the sanctions have inflicted, and increasingly inflict, very serious harm to human life and health, including an estimated more than 40,000 deaths from 2017–2018; and that these sanctions would fit the definition of collective punishment of the civilian population as described in both the Geneva and Hague international conventions, to which the US is a signatory. They are also illegal under international law and treaties which the US has signed, and would appear to violate US law as well.
As many as 40,000 people may have died in Venezuela as a result of US sanctions that made it harder for ordinary citizens to access food, medicine and medical equipment, a new report has claimed.
The report, published by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) a progressive, Washington DC-based think tank, says those deaths took place following the imposition of sanctions in the summer of 2017.
Report from Caracas by the member of the German Parliament, Andrej Hunko on his meeting with the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro
Like Franklin Roosevelt, who tried to starve Japan into submission by halting its imports of oil, Trump seems intent on trying to bludgeon Iran into submission by preventing it from exporting any crude. The problem is that the Iranians aren’t cracking. Instead, they are likely to double-down. Already they are threatening to shut down the Strait of Hormuz. Trump will be in dire straits if Iran does that. A fifth of the world’s crude oil flows through it. The US military has positioned two carrier strike groups near Iran.
The media also specified that Kim was accompanied by Kim Phyong Hae and O Su Yong, members of the Political Bureau and vice-chairmen of the WPK Central Committee, country’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army Ri Yong Gil and other high-ranking officials.
A group of South Korean officials will head to Washington this week for follow-up talks on a U.S. decision not to extend sanctions waivers for South Korea and seven other importers of Iranian oil.
Kim’s special train left for Russia earlier in the day, the Korean Central News Agency said. It did not specify from where it departed and where it is headed.
The Kremlin earlier said that the summit will be held in Russia’s Far East city of Vladivostok on Thursday.
It’s seemingly inexplicable that one of the world’s top oil exporters and most masterful perception management practitioners wouldn’t gift its “ally” emergency fuel shipments as a humanitarian gesture or at least sell it what it needs under a deferred payment plan, especially when considering that it’s owned all of the country’s oil and gas infrastructure since last year and regularly ships large amounts of oil to the country in order to meet the huge demands of its fuel-hungry Aerospace Forces there. On top of that, Russia even sells gas to its American adversary in spite of the sanctions that its customer imposed on this industry,
Egypt turned back an Iranian tanker headed for Syria over U.S. Treasury warning
… He said officials in the current US administration have been revealing the country’s true intentions, “but the one who needs to change in nature is the US itself, not Iran.”
“The global community’s growing opposition to [the US] behavior and the actions it takes in violation of international law has triggered a global demand for the US regime nature to undergo change,” he added.
Asked by reporters whether he was prepared to ease some sanctions on North Korea, Trump said he and Moon were discussing „certain humanitarian things“ and the possibility of South Korea helping the North with food. He did not rule out participating in a three-way summit with both Kim and Moon.
According to Iranian state TV, Rouhani on Saturday called for both countries to expand their gas and electricity dealings and boost bilateral trade to $20bn, despite difficulties caused by sanctions imposed by the United States against Tehran.
The sanctions, according to Washington, will be placed on 34 ships operated by Venezuela’s state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.
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„The hypocrisy of the discourse of the officials of some countries taking part in the Brussels conference is both laughable and angering,“ a source at the foreign ministry said.
EU sanctions have deprived „the European Union of any credibility when it speaks about helping Syrians and alleviating their suffering,“ state news agency SANA quoted the source as saying.
On February 28, 2019 the last financial wire transactions between the small socialist country of Eritrea and all the western countries were stopped with no further wire transfers in USD$ or Euros to or from Eritrea being allowed . UNjust and illegal UN sanctions against Eritrea were lifted recently but the damage being done continues.
During the 9 year long UN sanctions period the US shut down all Eritrean government bank accounts and cut off all access to USD$ international transfers. The USA and its European lackeys even tried to prevent Eritreans in the diaspora from paying their national 2% income tax (something all US citizens outside the country must do), critical to the creation and survival of the country.
Don’t you think something is really very rotten when the expert, Alfred Maurice de Zayas, sent by the UN to Venezuela to evaluate the situation finds no interest by any Western media or any Western government in his report?
The two leaders saw that efforts and proactive measures taken by both sides to ease tension, propel peace and bring about complete denuclearization on the Korean peninsula has been gravely meaningful in encouraging trust between them and fundamentally changing the distrust and inimical relationship that had continued between the two countries for decades, KCNA said.
Nevertheless, North Korean state news agency KNCA’s report Friday offered an upbeat takeaway of the meeting, saying both leaders walked away with a deeper commitment to forging ties between the two historically hostile nations.
(1.3.2019) „So funny to watch people who have failed for years, they got NOTHING, telling me how to negotiate with North Korea. But thanks anyway,“ Trump tweeted.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak reported that top aides had told Trump a deal was tough to reach in Hanoi, but the President had harbored hopes that he could turn the tables. He was dismayed to find that the North Korean leader was so inflexible.
Pyongyang requested that Washington partially remove sanctions, particularly those affecting civilian industries and common people, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told an emergency briefing following the Hanoi summit between the US and North Korean leaders.
The White House has announced that no agreement was reached in Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un. The President will brief the media before departing Hanoi.
• President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, failed to reach a deal on denuclearization during their second summit meeting in eight months. “Sometimes you have to walk,” Mr. Trump said after the talks broke down.
• Mr. Trump said Mr. Kim was willing to close some but not all nuclear sites in North Korea in exchange for the lifting of all international sanctions.
• The leaders were scheduled to have lunch together and sign a joint agreement, but those plans were abruptly called off.
The White House today insisted talks between the pair would continue in the future despite the talks breaking down early and a joint agreement signing ceremony being scrapped
While the United States has openly backed Guaido, the European Union did not issue a joint statement following suit because the motion was vetoed by Italy, according to a diplomatic source. Despite this, however, many European countries have individually voiced their support for the Venezuelan opposition leader.
Germany and other European Union (EU) countries threatened Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with further sanctions on Monday.
Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA is telling customers of its oil joint ventures to deposit sales proceeds at an account it recently opened at Russia’s Gazprombank AO, according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters on Saturday.
The group is recommending that cyber penalties focus on individuals and entities. It said the door should also be left open to making cyber-crimes also subject to “sectoral measures.”
The EU has been mulling such a cyber sanctions regime since 2015 and the group of countries is pressing the bloc’s 28 nations to formally agree on the matter at a gathering of EU leaders in Brussels next week.
A flotilla loaded with about 7 million barrels of Venezuelan oil has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, some holding cargoes bought ahead of the latest U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and others whose buyers are weighing who to pay, according to traders, shippers and Refinitiv Eikon data.
(3.1.2019) The sanctions, which came in on Monday, ban US companies from exporting goods or services to Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA), as part of a campaign to force Maduro to step aside and cede power to Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader. US refineries are also banned from buying crude from PDVSA unless the money is paid into accounts not tied to Maduro.
(24.1.2019) Officials representing the bloc’s 28 governments are set to discuss a draft text welcoming the agreement on the SPV at a meeting in Brussels on Friday, according to a person familiar with the process. The governments could then formally adopt it at their next regular meeting, which would be on Monday, the person said.
“The (Venezuelan) export volumes will not be eliminated from the market, but rather rerouted to other countries,” said Paola Rodriguez-Masiu, an analyst at consultancy Rystad Energy.
With the United States dropping out as a customer for Venezuelan oil, she added that “China and India … will be able to pick up these oil volumes at great discounts”.
Since last year Maduro’s government has been trying to repatriate gold from the Bank of England, fearing it could be caught up in international sanctions against his administration.
The US House of Representatives yesterday unanimously adopted a bill allowing President Donald Trump to impose new sanctions on supporters of Syria’s energy, airspace and business sectors…. The legislation has not passed in the Senate after the Democrats refused to participate in the vote during the partial US government shutdown.
The bloc imposed a fresh round of economic sanctions on the Damascus government on Monday, saying that it would not shift its policy until a political transition away from Assad was underway.
“Instead of blacklisting such terrorist and criminal groups as the Monafeqin (MKO) and al-Ahwaziya, the European Union has allowed them freedom to carry out their inhuman and terrorist activities and even provides them protection, while it levels accusations against Iran, which is the flag-bearer in the fight against terror in the region and to which Europe owes its security,” Qassemi said.
He said Iran will take reciprocal measures in response, without elaborating.
우리 민족이 전쟁의 위험에서 벗어나 더는 돌려세울 수 없는 화해와 신뢰의 관계가 되었음을 전해주었습니다. 서울 상봉이 이뤄지지 못한 데 대한 아쉬움도 담겨있습니다.
남북과 북미정상회담의 합의에 대한 적극적인 실천 의지도 다시 한 번 천명해주었습니다.
It marks the end of a historic year in North-South relations, with the leaders hugging each other on the tarmac of Pyongyang International Airport in their most recent meeting in September — believed to be the first time Kim had greeted visitors at the airport since taking power in 2011.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will likely tamp down his rhetoric in his New Year’s Day message in order to not provoke the United States and try to revive the hope for their long-stalemated denuclearization talks, experts said Sunday.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi that the U.S. is still committed to fighting Islamic State in Iraq and other areas despite its planned troop withdrawal from Syria, Abdul Mahdi’s office said on Saturday.
„We’ll sort out all those issues here today, and in the days ahead… we’ll work all this forward,“ Mattis told reporters on Monday when asked if he expects New Delhi to get a sanctions waiver over the S-400 purchase.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday criticized sanctions on Venezuela during a visit to Caracas, while President Nicolas Maduro defended the country’s right to export gold after U.S. sanctions last month targeted its shipments of the metal.
Addressing world leaders on the G20 stage,… President Moon Jae-in emphasized that peace on the Korean Peninsula will open the way for greater global prosperity. Speaking in Argentina on Friday,… President Moon said sustainable development is only possible through peace,… and friendly inter-Korean ties will contribute to humanity.