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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested Monday that U.S. President Donald Trump “try respect” instead of issuing threats.
He was responding to a Twitter post Sunday in which Trump said: “If Iran wants to fight, that will the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”
Zarif said Trump, under pressure from a group that includes his National Security Adviser John Bolton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is hoping to achieve what “other aggressors failed to do.'”
“Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone,” Zarif wrote. “Economic terrorism and genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran.'”
Last week, Trump appeared to be backing away from his apparently hawkish stance against Iran, saying he would be open to talks.
When asked by a reporter at the White House on Thursday if the United States was going to war with Iran, Trump replied, “I hope not.”
But there has been no apparent let up in the tensions between the United States, its regional allies and Iran.
The State Department says a “low-grade rocket” fell inside the green zone in Baghdad, less than a kilometer from the U.S. embassy Sunday. No injuries or damage were reported.
U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said the Pentagon was aware of an explosion outside the embassy, adding, “There were no U.S. or coalition casualties, and Iraqi Security Forces are investigating the incident.”
A State Department spokesman says the U.S. will not tolerate such attacks and that it will hold Iran responsible “if any such attacks are conducted by its proxy militia forces.”
Saudi Arabia is blaming Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen for a drone attack on two Saudi oil-pumping stations last week.
The U.S. also suspects Iran was behind the sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates last week. Two of the damaged tankers were Saudi.
The Saudis also say they will not tolerate Iranian aggression.
“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that,” foreign affairs minister Adel al-Jubeir said Sunday. “But at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this will all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests.”
Saudi King Salman has called for emergency summits with Gulf and Arab leaders on May 30 to discuss what the kingdom’s official news agency describes as “aggressions and their consequences.”
An Iranian news agency quotes Iran’s Revolutionary Guard head Hossein Salami as saying the country does not want war, but is “not afraid” of it.
A statement from the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet Sunday spoke of increased maritime patrols and exercises in the Arabian Sea that highlight the “lethality and agility to respond to threat”
The Pentagon has already sent bombers to the region.
The increased tensions with Iran began brewing a year ago when Trump pulled the United States out of the six-nation nuclear deal with Iran.
Under the agreement, Iran limited its uranium enrichment program in exchange for the end of sanctions and economic relief.
The limitations were meant to ensure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, something Iran denied it had been doing.
Trump, in an interview with Fox News recorded last week and broadcast Sunday, said he does not “want to fight” but that when it comes to Iran, “you can’t let them have nuclear weapons.”
The reimposed U.S. sanctions have left the Iranian economy in tatters and Iran complains it has yet to see the promised economic benefit from the countries that are still part of the nuclear deal — Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced two weeks ago he was pulling out of part of the nuclear deal and would restart some uranium enrichment if there were no economic benefits by early July. (VOA)
NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.
The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.
Commander Vivek Madhwal, the Indian navy spokesman, said four ships will take part.
The ships will also participate in a multilateral exercise, MALABAR-21, along with the Japanese, Australian and U.S. navies, the statement said.
It said the exercises will enhance coordination with friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and a commitment to freedom of navigation.
"Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations," the statement said.
The U.S., India, Japan and Australia are part of the Quad regional alliance created in response to China's growing economic and military strength. Washington has long viewed New Delhi as a key partner in efforts to blunt increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
India is also in a continuing standoff with China over their disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region. The countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control.
Last year, 20 Indian troops died in a clash with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists in a portion of the disputed border. China said it lost four soldiers.(VOA/HP)
The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).
The UK government also announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, the US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watch list to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government's green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.
Besides India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved.
The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country's epidemiological picture changes, a statement by the UK government said.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we've made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
In order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities, which have gone up, the cost will increase from August 12. Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay and rates remain the same for children up to 12.(IANS/HP)
A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.
According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.
Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.
Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.
The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".
But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.
A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.
In response, one Twitter user said: "Ganesh Temple, village Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab has been ravaged. Another day, another attack on Hindus in Pakistan."
Another said: "Yesterday, the mob ran amok at Temple over minor boy issue who allegedly urinated, the boy said to be mentally handicapped. Hindu community made an apology for the boy — a case registered against the nine-year-old boy. Those vandalized temples, no FIR registered against them."
District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.
A small town close to the River Indus and Sindh-Punjab border, Bhong houses a number of gold traders who originally hail from Ghotki and Dehrki (Sindh), according to the Dawn news report.
A ruling PTI member representing the minority said he had been in touch with the local Hindu community and influential Rais family of Bhong since the issue surfaced.