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Sanctions on Tehran uplifted after historic nuke deal

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New Delhi: US and EU lifted economic sanctions against Iran after the implementation of historic nuke deal with Tehran.

About $100 billion of Iran’s assets would be released after the deal is implemented and it will be easier for India and other countries to do business with Tehran.

India, which had substantially reduced its oil imports from Iran under US pressure, can now freely import oil from Tehran, but would now have to pay for it in dollars.

Due to the sanctions, India has been paying Iran in Indian rupees, with the money kept in an Indian account. India has to now release an estimate of $6 billion in pending oil payments to Iran.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order lifting some of the US economic sanctions on Iran, the White House announced.

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement confirming the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified that Iran “has fully implemented its required commitments”.

“Iran has undertaken significant steps that many, and I do mean many, people doubted would ever come to pass.

“And that should be recognized, even though the full measure of this achievement can only be realized by assuring continued full compliance in the coming years,” Kerry said.

With the implementation of deal reached last July, the US, “our friends and allies in the Middle East, and the entire world are safer because the threat of the nuclear weapon has been reduced”, he said.

In exchange for lifting sanctions, Iran must reduce its level of uranium enrichment, dramatically reduce the size of its stockpile of enriched uranium, reduce the number of centrifuges, and agree to unfettered international inspections.

The implementation came hours after Iran freed four American prisoners, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, in exchange for seven Iranian prisoners. Another American, who was not a part of the exchange, was released.

But several Republican presidential candidates criticized the prisoner swap with frontrunner Donald Trump saying that Iran was getting more in the deal than the US.

“They’re getting seven people, so essentially they get $150 billion plus seven, and we get four,” Trump said in New Hampshire.

Senator Marco Rubio accused the Obama administration of not pushing hard enough for the American prisoners’ release when the US negotiated a deal with Iran last year.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the US should not have had to make any concessions to get the Americans released.(Ians)

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Trump Toughens Iran Strategy, Decertifies Tehran’s Compliance With Accord

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President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump announces a new Iran policy from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. voa

Saying Iran is not living up to the spirit of a two-year-old nuclear agreement it signed with Western powers, President Donald Trump Friday unveiled a tough new strategy toward Tehran, including additional sanctions aimed at blocking the regime’s path to develop nuclear weapons.

“Today, I am announcing our strategy along with several major steps we are taking to confront the Iranian regime’s hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never — and I mean never — acquires a nuclear weapon,” Trump said in a nationally televised address at the White House.

He stopped short of pulling the United States out of the 2015 deal involving Iran, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany and the European Union. But he said he would no longer certify Iran’s compliance with its terms, effectively giving Congress 60 days to consider whether further action is necessary.

“We cannot and will not make this certification,” Trump said. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.”

Global reaction

European powers France, Britain and Germany together issued a statement following Trump’s address, saying preservation of the JCPOA with Iran is “in our joint national interest.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Friday said his country sees the JCPOA as non-negotiable, and would remain committed to it as long at it serves the national interests.

In a nationally televised address, Rouhani charged that Trump’s comments were full of “insults and fake accusations” against Iran.

“The Iranian nation has not and will never bow to any foreign pressure. … Iran and the deal are stronger than ever. … Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will continue its fight against regional terrorists,” Rouhani said.

Obama administration officials involved in crafting the agreement say any attempt to tinker with it is fraught with numerous pitfalls, and will require close coordination with allies and lawmakers.

“This action is completely unnecessary and arbitrary,” said Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser to former President Barack Obama. “The question at play in certification is whether or not Iran is complying with terms of the nuclear deal, and as you know, the Trump administration itself has twice certified that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal.”

Gary Samore, who held senior positions on arms control and non-proliferation in the Obama and Clinton administrations, described Trump’s move as “mostly political theater.”

“President Trump gets to denounce the Iran agreement, which he’s heavily criticized, but at the same time, the U.S. will continue to comply with the agreement by waiving sanctions. So for now, it really doesn’t change anything,” Samore told VOA.

“President Trump found it embarrassing and irritating to have to certify this ‘bad deal’ every 90 days, and he made it clear to his advisers that he wasn’t’ going to do that anymore,” Samore added. “And they’ve come up with a way for him to stop performing this task but not destroy the agreement.”(VOA)

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Lifting sanctions to boost Moscow-Tehran cooperation: Russia

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Moscow: The expected lifting of the sanctions on Iran will boost cooperation between Moscow and Tehran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

The cooperation in the military-technical sphere was of particular importance due to threats and challenges in the Caspian region, Lavrov said after meeting here with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Xinhua reported.

“It is an important task to prevent the threats and risks in the region,” Lavrov said.

Iran and the six countries it has been negotiating with over its nuclear programme, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, wrapped up their protracted talks on July 14 with a historic 100-page accord.

Zarif said the lifting of the sanctions against Iran has opened wide prospects for cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, including in the nuclear sector.

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Image Source: english.farsnews.com

“We had a very good dialogue on this issue,” Zarif said without giving further details.

(IANS)

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India’s ‘substantial sacrifice’ helped seal Iran deal: White House

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New White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

 

Washington: Acknowledging India’s “substantial sacrifice” in backing the sanctions regime against Iran, the White House has again warned that if the Republican-controlled Congress unilaterally kills the Iran nuclear deal, it would greatly damage America’s standing.

“No longer would countries like India, who have been making a substantial sacrifice over the years, have any interest or incentive to continue to enforce those sanctions against Iran,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday.

Indian leaders had agreed to curtail the import of oil from Iran making an “economic sacrifice” and backed the sanctions against Tehran to advance US effort to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon through diplomacy, he said.

“In essence …countries like India had agreed that they would take these steps, even at their own expense, to try to reach this broader international agreement,” he said.

Earnest recalled that when the sanctions were originally put in place, US officials traveled around the world “including to India, sat down with the Indian government and asked them to curtail the amount of Iranian oil that they imported into the country”.

“And we acknowledged in the context of those discussions that this would be an economic sacrifice that the people of India and that the economy of India would have to make,” he said.

“But Indian leaders agreed to it by saying that this is something that they were willing to do if they can advance our effort to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon through diplomacy,” Earnest said.

“And the good news is that that agreement has been reached. And it is an agreement that is supported by the international community — 99 percent of the world as the President (Barack Obama) has described it,” Earnest said.

“And that’s why it would be so damaging to the standing of the United States for the United States Congress to act unilaterally to kill this deal,” he said.

“No longer would countries like India, who have been making a substantial sacrifice over the years, have any interest or incentive to continue to enforce those sanctions against Iran,” Earnest said.

“There is no basis, there is no credible claim for why they would be willing to do that,” he said.

“And there is no denying the significant negative impact on United States credibility for the United States to be isolated in this way.”

“That’s why the President has said if Congress were to move forward to kill this deal or kill this agreement, it would, in fact, yield a better deal for Iran,” Earnest said.

“Because what we would see is that Iran would get sanctions relief; they would have the ability to sell oil to India and get the proceeds of doing so…without having to submit to the most intrusive set of inspections that have ever been imposed on a country’s nuclear programme,” he said.

“That’s why I’ve long said that the case before Congress is that Iran is going to get sanctions relief,” Earnest said.

“The question is whether or not the United States and the international community is going to get anything for it. And that is ultimately the choice before members of Congress right now,” he said.

(IANS)