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UN Security Council prepares to ratify nuclear accord with Iran

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United Nations: The UN Security Council is preparing to ratify the nuclear accord reached between major world powers and Iran by approving a resolution that is expected to be voted on very soon.

A draft of the resolution will be written in Washington on behalf of the P5+1 – the US, Russia, China, France and Britain, plus Germany — and of the European Union, and will be sent to the council “in the coming days,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said Tuesday.

The resolution will endorse the accord and “take other important steps, including replacing the existing Security Council sanctions architecture with the new, binding restrictions agreed on in Vienna,” Power said in a communique.

She said she will work with her colleagues on the council to make sure that this important resolution is adopted opportunely so the pact can take effect.

Negotiations_about_Iranian_Nuclear_Program_-_the_Ministers_of_Foreign_Affairs_and_Other_Officials_of_the_P5+1_and_Ministers_of_Foreign_Affairs_of_Iran_and_EU_in_Lausanne
The president of the Security Council for July, New Zealander Gerard van Bohemen, told reporters that no date has yet been set for the vote, but gave assurances that the Security Council is ready to act.

From Vienna, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the resolution will be approved in the coming days.

From here on the text should go forward without problems, given that all the countries with veto-power on the Security Council participated directly in the negotiations with Tehran.

The UN resolution is expected to reflect the periods agreed upon in Vienna for the progressive lifting of all the international sanctions on Iran, and at the same time will authorise economic reprisals in case Tehran fails to abide by the terms of the pact.

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About that possibility, Power said the accord establishes that sanctions would “snap back” in case Iran fails to comply.

The pact reached on Tuesday does not include raising the UN arms embargo, which will continue for another five years, while the one on ballistic missiles will continue for another eight years.

The UN has a committee charged with supervising adherence to the sanctions on Iran, which this year is presided over by Spain. (IANS/EFE)

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Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran Hold Meeting To Counter Trafficking of Opiate

The United States has spent more than $8 billion in the past 17 years to assist Afghanistan in eradication efforts.

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Opium
An Afghan man works on a poppy field in Jalalabad province. VOA

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran have pledged to increase cooperation and information-sharing for effectively combating the trafficking of Afghan opiates.

War-shattered Afghanistan remains the world’s largest producer of opium, though the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime noted in its latest survey the opium cultivation decreased by 20 percent in 2018 due to a severe drought and reduced prices.

The illegal opiates are largely smuggled to international markets through Pakistan and Iran.

Need for more initiatives 

Afghan, Pakistan and Iranian counternarcotics officials concluded their two-day UNODC-facilitated interaction Wednesday in Islamabad, where delegates underscored the need for more efforts against the massive flow of illicit drugs.

Participants at the “Triangular Initiative” meeting called for timely sharing of information and conducting simultaneously interdiction operations along their shared largely porous borders.

oPIUM CULTIVATION
In this April 11, 2016, photo, farmers harvest raw opium at a poppy field in the Zhari district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan. VOA

The forum was established in 2007 with a mission to promote regional cooperation to reduce the poppy cultivation, trafficking, and consumption of drugs in the region and beyond.

Officials acknowledged that despite Afghanistan’s political tensions with Pakistan and Iran anti-drugs cooperation largely continues.

Renewed attitude 

Cesar Guedes, UNODC representative in Pakistan, noted the three countries attended the Islamabad meeting with “a revived attitude and role”, raising prospects for more effective counternarcotics efforts in 2019.

“More needs to be done because the level of [Afghan opium] production has also increased. They need really to coordinate closer in their joint efforts,” he told VOA

Guedes also called for increased international assistance, saying Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran alone cannot curb the menace of drugs.

opium
FILE – Afghan farmers collect raw opium as they work in a poppy field in Khogyani district of Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan, May 10, 2013. VOA

“This has to be done in the framework of shared responsibility. All the countries, producers, consumers and transit need to join the effort,” he said.

Despite many challenges facing the government, the head of the Afghan delegation said authorities have taken significant steps to eradicate drug trafficking.

US assistance 
Director General for Policy Planing at the Afghan Ministry of Narcotics, Mohammad Osman Frotan, said 89 percent of poppy cultivation this year has taken place in the Afghan provinces most hit by insurgent activities. He said counternarcotics authorities during 2018 have seized more than 433 tons of different types of drugs, and arrested and prosecuted almost 4,000 suspects.

Also Read: Pakistan In U.S. Blacklist For Religious Freedom Violations

The United States has spent more than $8 billion in the past 17 years to assist Afghanistan in eradication efforts. But the effort has failed to stop opium production, which increased to record highs and stood at an estimated 9,000 tons in 2017. Critics blamed insecurity, rampant corruption and patronage by influential Afghans for the unprecedented growth. (VOA)