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Sanctions on Tehran uplifted after historic nuke deal

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New Delhi: US and EU lifted economic sanctions against Iran after the implementation of historic nuke deal with Tehran.

About $100 billion of Iran’s assets would be released after the deal is implemented and it will be easier for India and other countries to do business with Tehran.

India, which had substantially reduced its oil imports from Iran under US pressure, can now freely import oil from Tehran, but would now have to pay for it in dollars.

Due to the sanctions, India has been paying Iran in Indian rupees, with the money kept in an Indian account. India has to now release an estimate of $6 billion in pending oil payments to Iran.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order lifting some of the US economic sanctions on Iran, the White House announced.

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement confirming the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified that Iran “has fully implemented its required commitments”.

“Iran has undertaken significant steps that many, and I do mean many, people doubted would ever come to pass.

“And that should be recognized, even though the full measure of this achievement can only be realized by assuring continued full compliance in the coming years,” Kerry said.

With the implementation of deal reached last July, the US, “our friends and allies in the Middle East, and the entire world are safer because the threat of the nuclear weapon has been reduced”, he said.

In exchange for lifting sanctions, Iran must reduce its level of uranium enrichment, dramatically reduce the size of its stockpile of enriched uranium, reduce the number of centrifuges, and agree to unfettered international inspections.

The implementation came hours after Iran freed four American prisoners, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, in exchange for seven Iranian prisoners. Another American, who was not a part of the exchange, was released.

But several Republican presidential candidates criticized the prisoner swap with frontrunner Donald Trump saying that Iran was getting more in the deal than the US.

“They’re getting seven people, so essentially they get $150 billion plus seven, and we get four,” Trump said in New Hampshire.

Senator Marco Rubio accused the Obama administration of not pushing hard enough for the American prisoners’ release when the US negotiated a deal with Iran last year.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the US should not have had to make any concessions to get the Americans released.(Ians)

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The U.S. Will End War Games, But N. Korean Sanctions Will Remain

Trump's statement came after he signed an agreement with North Korean leader

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The U.S. Will End War Games, But N. Korea Sanctions Will Remain
The U.S. Will End War Games, But N. Korea Sanctions Will Remain, flickr

The US will end its joint military exercises with South Korea, but sanctions on Pyongyang will remain in place, President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday.

Trump’s statement came after he signed an agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un which included a pledge to work towards a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”.

The US leader said he believed his North Korean counterpart would live up to the agreement. But “in the meantime the sanctions will remain in effect”.

He said he would push for North Korea to denuclearize as “fast as it can mechanically” but added it could take a long time. “Scientifically you have to wait certain periods of time… But once you start the process, it means it’s pretty much over.”

Trump said the process would start “very soon” and added sanctions would be removed “when we are sure the nukes are no longer a factor”.

He also said he would stop the joint military exercises with South Korea, which North Korea describes as a “preparation for war”. The President also described the military exercises as “too expensive”.

Trump said he hopes to eventually withdraw US forces from South Korea, but said “that’s not part of the equation right now.

“I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home… But that’s not part of the equation right now. I hope it will be eventually.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un poses for pictures with female pilots
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un poses for pictures with female pilots, flickr

Trump said he had agreed to stop the “war games” because he considers them “very provocative” and said it would save the US “a tremendous amount of money”.

“We’ve done exercises for a long period of time, working with South Korea… They’re tremendously expensive. South Korea contributes but not 100 per cent. We have to talk to many countries about treating us fairly. The war games are very expensive, we pay for a big majority of them.”

He added: “We’re negotiating a very complicated deal… I think it’s inappropriate to have war games.”

Trump said the summit marked a “great moment in the history of the world” and stressed that denuclearization would be verifiable by international and US experts.

The leaders have agreed to have follow-on negotiations led by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a senior North Korean official.

Trump said he had invited Kim to visit the White House at “the appropriate time” and that the North Korean leader had accepted his invitation.

He said that Kim told him that North Korea was “destroying a major missile engine testing site”. The commitment was not included in the joint declaration the two men signed, but Trump said: “We agreed to that after the agreement was signed.”

Trump said he was confident that Kim will live up to the document that they both signed. “I don’t think they have ever had the confidence in a President they have right now for getting things done.”

He also praised Kim “ability to run a country at a young age”. “He is very talented,” Trump said.

Also read: Trump’s Miami Golf Resort Attacked

Asked about a possible second summit with Kim, Trump told reporters that while one hasn’t been set up yet. “We’ll probably need another summit or meeting.” (IANS)