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Bobby Jindal criticizes Iran nuclear deal

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Washington, Louisiana’s Indian-American governor Bobby Jindal has joined other 2016 Republican presidential contenders in decrying the historic nuclear deal with Iran saying it doesn’t go far enough.

Bobby_Jindal_CPAC_2013_BJindal, who joined his rivals in an interview with PBS, gave three reasons for his opposition.

First, Iran will be allowed to hold onto “thousands of centrifuges,” which Jindal said will allow the country to maintain uranium enrichment capacity.

Second, Iranian leaders aren’t going to be required to sever ties with militant anti-Israel groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, he said.

Third, inspectors won’t be allowed free rein to inspect nuclear sites, even though Jindal said President Barack Obama “said we will get anywhere, anytime inspections.”

“I worry under this president’s deal we could end up with a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” Jindal said.

Jindal hoped that Democratic presidential front runner Hillary “Clinton, who’s been the architect of this president’s foreign policy will come out and oppose this deal and say it is time for America to stand with Israel.”

“There is still time for America to come out and say we will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power.”

Jindal went on to say that if he is elected president, he would impose tougher sanctions on Iran.

Asked about his insistence on people to stop using “hyphenated” terms such as Indian-Americans, Jindal returned to familiar rhetoric about how he thinks immigrants should embrace US values and learn English.

“The great thing about America is, we’re a wonderful melting pot,” he said. “Folks can be proud of their heritage. But I think the hyphenations, the divisions are keeping us apart,” he said.

“I think its common sense to say, if you want to come here, you should want to be an American. Otherwise, why are you coming here?

“We can still embrace our Italian heritage or our old country heritages, but we should be Americans. Stop the hyphenated Americans,” Jindal said.

Meanwhile, according to a report in the Washington Examiner, Jindal raised nearly $579,000 in his first week as a presidential candidate, but has another $8.6 million in his corner thanks to supportive outside groups.

Believe again, the super PAC supporting Jindal’s presidential bid, raised $3.7 million since launching in January. An additional almost $4 million was raised by America Next, a nonprofit backing Jindal, with another $1 million flowing to American Future Project.

Jindal, 44, is lagging in the polls, registering at 1.4 percent nationally among Republican primary voters, according to the RealClearPolitics average, placing him far out of contention to qualify for the first televised debate, set for Aug 6 in Cleveland.

(IANS)

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US Hits Iran with New Sanctions; Petrochemicals Targeted

Washington is pressuring Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile program

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US, Iran, Petrochemicals
FILE - A man walks past the Mahshahr petrochemical plant in Khuzestan province, southwest of Tehran, Iran. VOA

The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s petrochemical industry, including its largest petrochemical holding group, over its financial support for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Treasury Department said.

Washington is pressuring Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile program and for waging proxy wars in other Middle Eastern countries. The new measures follow a round of sanctions imposed last month that targeted the Islamic Republic’s export revenues from industrial metals.

Tensions between the two countries worsened last month when the Trump administration ordered the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East, citing intelligence about possible Iranian preparations to attack U.S. forces or interests.

The Pentagon has also accused the IRGC of being directly responsible for May 12 attacks off the United Arab Emirates coast that damaged two Saudi tankers, an Emirati vessel and a Norwegian tanker.

US, Iran, Petrochemicals
The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s petrochemical industry. Pixabay

Friday’s sanctions target Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) for providing financial support for the economic arm of the IRGC, Iran’s elite military unit in charge of Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

The U.S. Treasury also designated the holding group’s network of 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies and foreign-based sales agents. PGPIC and its subsidiaries hold 40% of Iran’s petrochemical production capacity and are responsible for 50% of Iran’s petrochemical exports, it said.

“By targeting this network we intend to deny funding to key elements of Iran’s petrochemical sector that provide support to the IRGC,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The Treasury statement said Iran’s oil ministry last year awarded the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya, the IRGC’s economic and engineering arm, 10 projects in oil and petrochemical industries worth $22 billion, four times the official budget of the IRGC.

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President Donald Trump last year pulled out of a 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for easing some sanctions, saying it did not go far enough.

The Trump administration has since taken several unprecedented steps to squeeze Iran, such as demanding the world halt all imports of Iranian oil and designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, which Iran has cast as an American provocation.

U.S. law already punished U.S. persons who deal with the IRGC with up to 20 years in prison because of the group’s designation under the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, a different sanctions program. (VOA)