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Iran n-deal will make Egypt, region safer: Kerry

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Cairo: US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the world powers would make Egypt and the region “safer than they otherwise would be”.

“We are completely grateful for Egypt’s support in the Iranian nuclear deal,” Xinhua quoted Kerry as saying at a press conference in Cairo.

“Iran is part of the instability in several countries in the region and the nuclear programme should be peaceful so we can discuss the future of security in the region.”

“But there is a fact, that if Iran is a problem, the nuclear weapons disarmament will improve security in the region,” he said, adding that Iran has chosen to abide by the deal.

Kerry will travel to Doha later on Sunday to meet his counterparts from the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.

He said that in case of Iranian violation of the deal, all choices will open in the future.

Experts said Kerry’s trip, which ends on August 8, came to assure the region, the Gulf countries in particular, over the expansion of the Iranian influence after the nuclear deal was signed on July 14.

On US-Egyptian ties, Kerry said the two countries were returning to a “stronger base” in their relationship despite tensions and concerns over human rights and democracy.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said at the joint news conference that his country has “no major disagreements with the United States but there are differences in points of view over some issues, which is natural”.

“During the dialogue, we discussed our shared interests in issues related to democracy and human rights, and I affirmed Egypt’s commitment to paying attention to these issues as they fulfill the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” Shukri said.

Kerry’s visit comes days after the US released its first delivery of F-16 warplanes to Egypt.

“The American people are committed to the security and economic well-being of the Egyptian people,” Kerry said.

(IANS)

 

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Iran Doubts Europe’s Efforts To Keep Nuclear Deal Alive

Meanwhile, Vice President Pence’s hard-hitting speech at Munich has triggered fears in Europe that Washington has bigger plans, says Florence Gaub of the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Feb. 17, 2019. VOA

Iran says Europe’s efforts to keep the 2015 nuclear deal are failing and there is growing support among the Iranian people to restart the country’s atomic program.

“We appreciate that Europe has done a great deal politically. But it hasn’t been prepared to make an investment. It hasn’t been prepared to pay a price,” Zarif told delegates at the Munich Security Conference Sunday.

He accused the United States and Israel of seeking war with his country.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence earlier accused Europe of helping to prop up a ‘murderous’ regime in Tehran.

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Not at all a call for ‘let’s renegotiate the deal’ but rather ‘let’s remove the regime in Tehran.’ And in that sense I think this was not interpreted as anything that Europe could accept. Pixabay

“They have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions. They call this scheme a Special Purpose Vehicle, we call it an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime,” Pence told delegates Saturday.

That Special Purpose Vehicle — officially known as INSTEX — is a payments system designed to allow European companies to trade with Iran and bypass U.S. sanctions, explains sanctions lawyer Nigel Kushner of London-based firm “W Legal.”

“The aim is that it will get around the U.S. secondary sanctions by not involving U.S. dollars, not involving U.S. persons, and certainly at the moment only being involved in the procurement of trade which does not include products or services that are sanctioned by the U.S. authorities,” he said.

Europe is hoping that Iran will show patience, adds Kushner.

“I think on the Iranian side, they will play a waiting game and very much hope that next year Donald Trump might not be re-elected,” he said.

But Tehran says Europe’s offer is not good enough.

“INSTEX falls short of the commitments by the E3 [European three] to save the deal. Europe needs to be willing to get wet if it wants to swim against the dangerous tide of U.S. unilateralism,” Foreign Minister Zarif said Sunday at the Munich conference.

Meanwhile, Vice President Pence’s hard-hitting speech at Munich has triggered fears in Europe that Washington has bigger plans, says Florence Gaub of the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

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“Not at all a call for ‘let’s renegotiate the deal’ but rather ‘let’s remove the regime in Tehran.’ And in that sense I think this was not interpreted as anything that Europe could accept,” she said.

Washington, which withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year, has not explicitly called for regime change in Iran. (VOA)