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Iran bans imports from Saudi Arabia, faces Saudi boycotts

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, January 8th, 2016

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks at the International Institute of Strategic Studies conference ''Manama-Dialogue 2015 at Manama, Bahrain October 31, 2015. REUTERS/HAMAD I MOHAMMED

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks at the International Institute of Strategic Studies conference ”Manama-Dialogue 2015 at Manama, Bahrain October 31, 2015.
REUTERS/HAMAD I MOHAMMED

Iran and Saudi Arabia took further steps to sever commercial ties on Thursday, intensifying a feud between the regional rivals, as Tehran announced a ban on imports from Saudi Arabia and Saudi groups called for boycotts of Iranian products.

Iran’s government said it had forbidden imports from Saudi Arabia after a cabinet meeting chaired by President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday morning, according to state news agency IRNA.

The cabinet also reaffirmed a ban on Umrah pilgrimages to Mecca – which are both lucrative for Saudi Arabia and important to Muslims – first imposed in April in response to an alleged sexual assault on two male Iranians by Saudi airport guards.

Trade between Saudi Arabia and Iran is small compared with the size of their economies, but tens of thousands of Iranians travel to the kingdom every year to complete the haj as well as Umrah pilgrimages made outside of haj season.

Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran on Sunday over the storming of its embassy in Tehran, intensifying a diplomatic crisis set in motion by the kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shi’ite cleric the previous day.

Foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir told Reuters on Monday the kingdom was halting air traffic and trade links with the Islamic republic, although none of the few Saudi companies with interests in Iran has yet announced changes to their operations.

Savola, the kingdom’s largest food products company, which earns some 13 percent of total revenues from Iran, said on Tuesday it plans to maintain its investments there despite the standoff.

But it and the few other Saudi companies doing business in Iran faced increasing public pressure over the course of the week, as consumer and business groups called for boycotts of Iranian products.

Chamber of commerce leaders told local daily newspaper al-Riyadh that Saudi businesses should replace Iranian goods with alternatives from other Arab and Islamic countries.

A trade boycott would cause the kingdom little economic harm, they said, noting that imports from Iran mainly consist of pistachio nuts and pickles.

Consumer activist group Mogatah also urged Saudi businesses to remove Iranian goods from their shelves, posting photos of Iranian products for sale in Saudi Arabia on social media along with calls to support the government’s policy.

The group scolded Swedish home goods retailer Ikea for selling a Persian carpet with a “made in Iran” label at its stores in Saudi Arabia, and applauded a local Riyadh-based carpet shop chain for deciding to end sales of Iranian rugs.

(Reporting by Katie Paul and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; editing by David Stamp)

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Iran ready to talk to U.S. if sanctions lifted

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking at televised address | Courtesy: Reuters footage

Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday (July 14).

“When a big power that is a bully, well then we have to stand up to it. It must stop being a bully. We have always believed in talks. Always, right this hour, right this moment, if they stop the oppression, if they stop the belligerence, if they lift sanctions, return to the table, return to to logic; we are ready,” said Rouhani.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration says it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues.

But Iran has made any talks conditional on first being able to export as much oil as it did before the United States withdrew from the nuclear pact with world powers in May 2018.

Confrontations between Washington and Tehran have escalated, culminating in a plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute. (REUTERS)

(Production: Vin Shahrestani)

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Netanyahu calls on Europe to back Trump’s sanctions on Iran

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commenting on Iran at the Christians United for Israel Conference in Washington via satellite link from Jerusalem | Courtesy: Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday (July 8) again called on Europe to impose punitive sanctions on Tehran after Iran said it is fully prepared to enrich uranium at any level and with any amount, in further defiance of U.S. efforts to squeeze it with sanctions.

Speaking at the Christians United for Israel summit in Washington, Netanyahu said Europe needed to respond by joining President Donald Trump in imposing sanctions.

“We should stand up to Iran’s aggression now, and Europe should back the sanctions instituted by President Trump. We certainly do,” Netanyahu said in remarks broadcast live at the summit via satellite link from Jerusalem.

Senior Iranian officials said Tehran, which has denied seeking nuclear arms, would keep reducing its commitments every 60 days unless signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal moved to protect it from U.S. sanctions.

If any one of the three European parties to the accord believe Iran has violated the agreement, they can trigger a dispute resolution process that could, within as few as 65 days, end at the U.N. Security Council with a reimposition of U.N. sanctions on Tehran. (REUTERS)

(Production: Katharine Jackson)

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DFA: Filipino seafarers unharmed after attack in Gulf of Oman

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that all Filipino seafarers of two tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman on June 13 are “unharmed and in good condition.”

According to the DFA, Philippine Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Hjayceelyn Quintana has already met with the 11 seafarers of the MT Front Altair and the 21 Filipino seafarers of the MT Kokuka Courageous in two separate meetings through the kind assistance of UAE authorities to check on their condition and offer the needed assistance.

“The seafarers are appreciative of the concern extended to them by the Philippine government and all those involved in their rescue. The manning agencies are now looking after the crews’ well being and are dealing with their repatriation,” the DFA said in its bulletin.

Japan’s Kokuka Courageous, carrying a large shipment of methanol and Norwegian-owned oil tanker MT Front Altair, were attacked in the Gulf of Oman about 18 meters apart, according to reports.

Both tankers were heading for Asia.

MT Front Altair has safely landed in Dubai on Saturday (June 15) while MT Kokuka Courageous has also docked at the designated anchorage at Sharjah, according to the vessel’s ship management based in Singapore.

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