Monday December 11, 2017
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British embassy in Tehran reopens four years after closure

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Tehran: The British embassy in Iran reopened on Sunday, nearly four years after it was closed. Iran’s embassy in London also opened simultaneously. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond arrived in Tehran on Sunday for the reopening of the embassy that was closed in 2011 after it was stormed by protesters during a demonstration against sanctions against Iran.

Hammond’s visit comes weeks after Iran reached a deal with P5+1 group of world powers aimed at curbing its nuclear program. European officials have been quick to visit Tehran since July 14, when Iran struck a deal with the US, Russia, Britain, France and China plus Germany ending a 13-year stand-off over its nuclear program. The accord will see the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Iran and has sparked a flurry of interest from countries seeking to re-connect with the oil-rich western Asian nation. Hammond’s visit was the first by a British foreign secretary since 2003. Reopening the embassies was “a first step” toward re-establishing the links between the British people and Iranian people, Hammond said.

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www.bbc.com

He said that there has been a “step-by-step” improvement in relations between the two countries since President Hassan Rouhani was elected in July 2013. “Iran is and will remain a very important country in a strategically but volatile region,” he said. Following the 2011 embassy attack, Britain said it could not have happened without the tacit consent of the Iranian regime at the time. It erupted after the Iranian parliament voted to expel the British ambassador and reduce trade relations with Britain in retaliation for British-led sanctions against Iran’s banking sector.

Students rampaged for hours through Britain’s diplomatic compounds in Tehran, tearing down the British flag, ripping up pictures of Queen Elizabeth II and trashing offices. Staff were seized by protesters. Diplomatic relations were reduced to their lowest possible level, with Britain expelling Iran´s officials. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohmmad Javad Zarif said Iran and Britain could resolve “differences through interaction and reaching a mutual understanding”. He noted that Tehran and London share views about fighting “extremism, Islamic State” and drug trafficking in the region. He said the reopening of the embassies could be a restart of Iran-Britain relations, adding, “Today (Sunday), we entered the phase of mutual relationship based on mutual respect”.

(IANS)

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Donald Trump Planning to meet Putin during his Asia tour

Donald Trump's first trip to Asia is the longest international tour.

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US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. wikimedia commns
  • US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his Asia tour.

“I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah. We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders,” Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One before landing at the Yokota Air Base in Japan, Efe reported.

Putin is scheduled to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, which Trump will also attend as part of his long Asia tour.

The North Korean nuclear threat is expected to dominate Donald Trump’s meetings in Japan and the next two stages of his tour, South Korea and China, where he will have a highly anticipated sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The remainder of the tour will be more focused on economic issues, with Trump scheduled to take part in the APEC meeting in Da Nang and then in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and the East Asia Summit in the Philippines.

Donald Trump’s first trip to Asia is the longest international tour by a US head of state since the one then-President George H.W. Bush embarked on in 1992.

Bush became ill at the end of that trip, famously vomiting on the Japanese prime minister’s lap at a formal dinner before fainting.(IANS)

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Iranian Chess Star Dorsa Derakhshani Banned for Not Wearing Hijab

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Dorsa Derakhshani
Iranian chess player Dorsa Derakhshani speaks in an interview. voa

A leading Iranian chess player, Dorsa Derakhshani was barred from her homeland’s team after she refused to wear a headscarf, will now compete as a player for the United States, the US Chess Federation said.

Dorsa Derakhshani, 19, who was born in Tehran, was forbidden from playing by the Iranian Chess Federation following the Gibraltar Chess Festival in January, US Chess said on its website. She did not wear a hijab during the event.

Since then, she has moved to the United States where she attends Saint Louis University and plays for the school’s team.

Dorsa Derakhshani will now compete as an official United States chess player, US Chess posted on its website this week. US Chess is the national governing body for chess competition, sanctioning championships and overseeing player rankings.

‘Welcomed and supported’

“It feels good and … peaceful to play for a federation where I am welcomed and supported,” the website quoted Derakhshani as saying.

On a U.S. radio broadcast last week, she said: “I’m looking forward to finally having a stable trainer and a team, and I really wish to become grandmaster.”

She also said she hopes to become a dentist.

Dorsa Derakhshani holds the titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster with the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

A few weeks after the Gibraltar competition, the Iranian Chess Federation announced it was banning Dorsa Derakhshani for not wearing a hijab. It also banned her brother, who had played an Israeli player in Gibraltar, US Chess said.

Ban may be a distraction

Derakhshani said on the National Public Radio broadcast that she had competed before without a headscarf and thought the ban was issued for other reasons.

The announcement was made during the Women’s World Chess Championship in Tehran, and all three Iranian competitors had lost in the opening round.

“So in the middle of all this, they needed another distraction … which worked perfectly,” she said in the broadcast. “Everybody started talking about us.”

Several top players including the U.S. women’s champion Nazi Paikidze boycotted the Tehran competition because players were required to wear a headscarf, US Chess said.(voa)

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Actress Aparna Sen to attend 8th Chicago South Asian Film Festival

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Legendary Indian film actor and Padma Shri awardee Aparna Sen will be in Chicago this week. She is synonymous with bringing Bengali cinema closer to the masses not just in India but globally too finds an artistic proximity to Chicago. She says that the architecture of the city reminds her of a studio set from a movie.

Currently in the US, Sen has been having a very hectic schedule as her latest directorial venture, Sonata, is all set to be screened at film festivals in the US.

Amidst her busy schedule Aparna Sen takes out some time to talk to
Hi India! about her creative pursuits, the scope of regional Indian cinema in the US and of course about her love for museums and eateries in Chicago

“I have been to Chicago twice before this, and I’ve enjoyed the city hugely both times. I particularly like the downtown area with its interesting art deco architecture, its museums and eateries.” – Aparna Sen

Sen who has also directed critically acclaimed films such as 36 Chowringee Lane, that won her Best Director Award at the Indian National Film Awards is looking forward to the screening of her recent directorial film Sonata in America

Aparna Sen will be in the city to attend the 8th edition of Chicago South Asian Film Festival and is appreciative of the interest alternate Indian films have been creating in the US.

(IANS)