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European Deal Signatories Criticize U.S. Decision of Ending Waivers on Iran’s Oil Sanction

The EU and the European powers also on May 4 said they took note "with regret and concern of the decision by the United States not to extend waivers with regards to trade in oil with Iran."

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Nuclear deal
A heavy water tank is removed at the Arak nuclear complex in this 2016 photo. RFERL

The European Union and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany expressed concern about the U.S. decision not to extend two waivers related to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and others regarding Tehran’s oil industry.

The EU and the three European signatories of the accord said in a joint statement on May 4 that they were troubled by the U.S. decision “not to fully renew waivers for nuclear nonproliferation projects in the framework” of the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the [JCPOA],” they wrote.

“It aims at having a positive impact not only on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of the Iranian people,” the statement added.

The United States under then-President Barack Obama, along with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China, signed the landmark accord with Iran in 2015 that provided Tehran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

But President Donald Trump last year pulled out of the deal and began reimposing sanctions, although he granted some waivers. In withdrawing, Trump said Tehran was not living up to the “spirit” of the accord because of its support for militants in the region and for continuing to test nuclear weapons. Tehran denied the charges.

Tehran and the other signatories opposed the U.S. move and said they would remain part of the deal.

U.S.
Washington did extend five other waivers for up to 90 days related to elements of Tehran’s civilian nuclear program.RFERL

According to nuclear inspectors, Tehran has kept its nuclear program within the main limits imposed by the accord. Under the terms, Iran is allowed to keep 300 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent — far below the level needed to build nuclear weapons

Iran was to sell off any enriched uranium above the limit on international markets in return for natural uranium. It was also allowed to store excess heavy water produced in the uranium-enrichment process in Oman.

The United States on May 3 announced it would not to extend two sanctions waivers regarding Iran’s nuclear activities as part of efforts to force Tehran to stop producing low-enriched uranium.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would 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.

Washington did extend five other waivers for up to 90 days related to elements of Tehran’s civilian nuclear program.

They allow for work to continue at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the Fordow enrichment facility, the Arak nuclear complex, and the Tehran Research Reactor.

deal
Tehran and the other signatories opposed the U.S. move and said they would remain part of the deal. Pixabay

However, it warned that sanctions could be imposed on countries if they provide assistance to expand the Bushehr facility beyond the one existing reactor.

Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani on May 4 said Iran will continue to enrich uranium in accordance with the accord regardless of U.S. moves to put a stop to it.

“Under the [accord], Iran can produce heavy water and this is not in violation of the agreement. Therefore, we will carry on with enrichment activity,” the semiofficial news agency ISNA quoted Larijani as saying.

Also Read: North Korea: ‘Multiple Rocket Launchers’ On Kim’s Order Confirms State Media

The EU and the European powers also on May 4 said they took note “with regret and concern of the decision by the United States not to extend waivers with regards to trade in oil with Iran.”

The United States earlier in the week decided not to extend waivers granted to eight countries that allowed them to continue to do business with Iran’s crucial oil-export industry. Washington is attempting to bring the country’s oil exports down to zero by pressuring buyers. (RFERL)

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Facebook Raises Questions Over EU Ruling on Removing Content

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a "very troubling precedent"

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Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Facebook has raised objections over the European Union (EU) ruling that the bloc’s member countries can not only order the removal of content in their own jurisdiction, but all over the world.

According to the social networking giant, the ruling opens the door for courts to order the removal of content that is similar to the illegal speech, “meaning that something you posted might be removed even if you knew nothing about the earlier post that a European country had deemed illegal”.

“Imagine something you wrote and shared on Facebook was taken down, not because it violated our rules, and not because it broke the law in your country, but because someone was able to use different laws in another country to have it removed,” Monika Bickert, VP, Global Policy Management at Facebook, said in a statement on Monday.

“Imagine as well that your speech was deemed illegal not by a judge who carefully weighed the facts, but by automated tools and technology,” she added.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Facebook can be forced to remove content internationally.

The ruling arose from a personal defamation case brought by an Austrian politician.

The post in question shared a news article in which the Austrian politician had outlined her and her party’s views on immigration, together with a comment from a Facebook user strongly critiquing the Austrian politician.

facebook, WhatsApp, stories, feature
An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

The court’s ruling raises critical questions for freedom of expression, in two key respects, said Bickert.

First, it undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on another country.

“This is especially important with laws governing speech, because what is legally acceptable varies considerably in different parts of the world and even within the EU. The ruling also opens the door for other countries around the world, including non-democratic countries who severely limit speech, to demand the same power,” said Facebook.

Second, the ruling might lead to a situation in which private internet companies could be forced to rely on automated technologies to police and remove “equivalent” illegal speech.

Also Read: 5G Carries Potential to Contribute to India’s GDP Growth by the Year 2025

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a “very troubling precedent”.

“We have had precedents but we have successfully fought them. This is one where a lot of the details of exactly how this gets implemented are going to depend on national courts across Europe, and what they define as the same content versus roughly equivalent content.

“This is something we and other services will be litigating and getting clarity on what this means. I know we talk about free expression as a value and I thought this was a fairly troubling development,” Zuckerberg added. (IANS)