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After Tehran’s rogue behavior, European nations edge towards reimposing UN sanctions on Iran



After Tehran’s rogue behavior, European nations edge towards reimposing UN sanctions on Iran

The United Kingdom, Germany and France on Tuesday took the first step towards reimposing U.N. sanctions on Iran, accusing it of violating the 2015 nuclear deal.

The European nations, which are part of the 2015 agreement, triggered a mechanism that’s part of the accord—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA—that could enable snapping back U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran within a few months, although the Europeans could stall the process.

The United States is the only country to withdraw from the nuclear deal, doing so in May 2018, reimposing U.S. sanctions lifted under the agreement, along with enacting new financial penalties on Iran as part of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. The move has resulted in increased tensions between the two countries, which most recently was seen in the U.S. killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iran responded by launching missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops, with Iran incidentally shooting down a Ukrainian airliner over the Iranian capital.

In remarks in state media, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi cautioned that “if the Europeans continue the path of surrendering to the U.S. or want to abuse the dispute mechanism, they should prepare to accept the consequences and these consequences have been reminded to them before.”

‘Trying to defend a fatally flawed deal’

Experts told JNS that Tuesday’s move is a significant shift by the Europeans as it pertains to their posture on Iran.

“The European move will reinforce the Trump administration’s conviction that it’s winning and add to Iran’s perception it’s losing. The Europeans are desperately trying to find a way to save the deal, and to get U.S. and Iran talking,” said Aaron David Miller, who advised on Mideast issues at the U.S. State Department for 25 years and is currently a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “But that won’t happen until there’s a win-win opening. Right now, it’s win-lose.”

Also read:  Iranian students refuse to walk on US, Israel flags during anti-government protest

Foundation for Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz said “the regime in Iran would always take the patient pathways to nuclear weapons, ICBMs and military potency afforded to it under the Iran nuclear deal as key restrictions disappeared starting in 2020. Better that we are addressing these issues while the regime is facing an economic and political crisis than when it was enriched, emboldened and more lethal from sanctions relief. It’s good to see the Europeans facing this reality, instead of trying defend a fatally flawed deal.”

Despite the latest European move, the aforementioned countries are still committed to preserving the nuclear deal, according to Ilan Berman, senior vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council.

“It’s no secret that, all things being equal, Iran’s political and economic partners in Europe would be delighted to preserve the JCPOA and continue doing business as usual with Tehran,” he said. “But Iran’s recent missteps [from the accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner to the subsequent detention of the British ambassador] have begun to create some serious doubts in European capitals regarding Iran’s political competence and its continued suitability as a partner.”

He continued, “Add to that signals from the Iranian regime that they are reconsidering compliance with the JCPOA, and there’s more than ample reason for European governments to conclude that Iran needs to be monitored more closely—and potentially controlled a lot more.”

“The paradox here is that European countries have historically been among those most resistant to the Trump administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign on Iran,” added Berman. “Even so, Iran’s behavior is nudging them towards embracing the U.S. government’s view of the threat that Iran poses to the region and the world.”




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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’



The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin



Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel



A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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