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Iran’s Zarif Tells Trump to ‘Try Respect’ Instead of Threats

The U.S. also suspects Iran was behind the sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates

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Iran, Zarif, Trump, Respect, Threats
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. VOA

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.'”

Iran, Zarif, Trump, Respect, Threats
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested Monday that U.S. President Donald Trump “try respect”. Flickr

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.

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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.

Iran, Zarif, Trump, Respect, Threats
Trump said: “If Iran wants to fight, that will the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” Pixabay

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.

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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)

Next Story

Trump EPA Finalizes Rollback of Key Obama Climate Rule that Targeted Coal Plants

The new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule gives America's 50 states three years to develop their own emissions reduction plans

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Trump, Obama, Climate
EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler speaks with the media at the Environmental Protection Agency, June 19, 2019, in Washington. VOA

The Trump administration is rolling back rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the United States as scientists continue to warn countries to rapidly cut emissions to prevent the most drastic effects of climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday it had finalized rules to replace the Clean Power Plan, former President Barack Obama’s initiative to cut global warming emissions from coal plants.

The new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule gives America’s 50 states three years to develop their own emissions reduction plans by encouraging coal plants to improve their efficiency.

By contrast, the Clean Power Plan was designed to slash power plant carbon emissions by more than one-third from 2005 levels by 2030 by pushing utilities to replace coal with cleaner fuels like natural gas, solar and wind.

Trump, Obama, Climate
The Trump administration is rolling back rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. VOA

The Obama-era plan was never enacted, however, because of lawsuits filed by Republican states and hundreds of companies. The Supreme Court halted its enactment in February 2016.

“States will be given the flexibility to design a plan that best suits their citizens environmental and energy needs, according to a summary of the new rules,” according to a summary of the ruling.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said at a Washington news conference, “Our ACE rule will incentivize new technology which will ensure coal plants will be part of a cleaner future.”

But environmentalists, many Democratic lawmakers and some state attorneys general have labeled the new rules the “Dirty Power Plan,” maintaining they will lead to increases in carbon emissions and other pollutants over the next few decades.

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“At a time when Americans are urging us to take meaningful climate action and reduce our carbon footprint, today’s Dirty Power Plan is a failure of vision and leadership,” said Joe Goffman, executive director of Harvard University’s Environmental & Energy Law Program.

Even the EPA’s own regulatory analysis last year estimated Trump’s ACE rule would kill an additional 300 to 1,500 people each year by 2030 because of more air pollution from the U.S. power grid.

Trump has, nevertheless, dismissed scientific warnings on climate change, including a report this year from scientists at more than a dozen federal agencies noting that global warming from fossil fuels “presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life.”

Trump promised early in his presidency to kill the Clean Power Plan as part of an effort to revive the ailing coal industry, contending it exceeded the federal government’s authority.

Trump, Obama, Climate
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday it had finalized rules to replace the Clean Power Plan. Pixabay

Wednesday’s announcement to overturn Obama-era climate rules is part of a broader Trump administration effort to roll back “a multitude of health, safety environmental and consumer protections at the behest of corporate interests,” the non-profit consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen concluded in a report released in May.

The report said shortly after Trump took office in early 2017, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) sent the Trump administration a list of 132 regulations that “concerned” members and detailed their “preferred course of action to address its concerns on each of the regulations.”

The report concluded that “Regulatory agencies have granted or are working on granting 85 percent of the wishes related to rulemakings on a list of deregulatory demands submitted” by NAM.

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The new rule is expected to take effect within 30 days. (VOA)