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Iran missile tests were ‘in defiance’ of U.N. resolution – U.S., allies

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/MAHMOOD HOSSEINI/TIMA

A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016.
REUTERS/MAHMOOD HOSSEINI/TIMA

By launching nuclear-capable missiles Iran has defied a United Nations Security Council resolution that endorsed last year’s historic nuclear deal, the United States and its European allies said in a joint letter seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

Iran’s recent ballistic tests involved missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and were “inconsistent with” and “in defiance of” council resolution 2231, adopted last July, said the joint U.S., British, French, German letter to Spain’s U.N. Ambassador Roman Oyarzun Marchesi and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

The letter said the missiles used in the recent launches were “inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” It also asked that the Security Council discuss “appropriate responses” to Tehran’s failure to comply with its obligations and urged Ban to report back on Iranian missile work inconsistent with 2231.

Spain has been assigned the task of coordinating council discussions on resolution 2231.

Council diplomats have said the case for new U.N. sanctions was weak, hinging on interpretation of ambiguous language in a resolution adopted as part of a July nuclear deal to drastically restrict Iran’s nuclear work.

Western officials say that although the launches went against 2231, they were not a violation of the core nuclear agreement between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Russia, a permanent veto-wielding council member, has made clear it does not support new U.N. sanctions on Iran. Both Russia and China had lobbied against continuing restrictions on Iran’s missile program during last year’s negotiations on the nuclear deal.

The four powers’ carefully worded letter stopped short of calling the Iranian launches a “violation” of the resolution, which “calls upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from activity, including launches, related to ballistic missiles designed with the capability of delivering nuclear weapons.

Diplomats say key powers agree that request is not legally binding and cannot be enforced under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which deals with sanctions and authorization of military force. But Western nations, which view the language as a ban, say there is a political obligation on Iran to comply.

International sanctions on Tehran were lifted in January under the nuclear deal.

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ missile battery said the missiles tested were designed to be able to hit U.S. ally Israel. The United States condemned the remarks and Russia said countries should not threaten each other.

The letter said the four Western powers “note with concern that Iranian military leaders have reportedly claimed these missiles are designed to be a direct threat to Israel.”

Several diplomats said the most Iran could expect would be a public rebuke by the Security Council. Under the nuclear deal, the reimposition of U.N. sanctions would only be triggered by violations of the agreed restrictions on Iran’s atomic work.

But a council rebuke could provide a legal springboard for European countries to consider new sanctions against Iran, Western diplomats said.

Last week the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted two Iranian companies for supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program, and also sanctioned two British businessmen it said were helping an airline used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

France has also suggested there could be unilateral European Union sanctions against Iran over the launches.

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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Senators divided over PH’s possible withdrawal from UN human rights body

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

UNHRC Hall | Courtesy: United Nations Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s tweet about the Philippines’ possible withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) earned mixed reactions from members of the Senate.

In reaction to the issue, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the Philippines may face unfavorable consequences in the future with its withdrawal from different UN bodies.

“It may be a matter of time when we will be left to our own devices. We do not know when, but being a developing country, we may need to knock on the doors of the community of nations sooner or later,” Lacson said in statement on Monday (July 15).

For his part, Senator Francis Pangilinan believes there will come a time when the Philippines will have to explain the outcome of the government’s drive against illegal drugs.

“We can run but we can’t hide. Sooner or later we will have to explain if not to the international community at the very least to ourselves and our citizens why tens of thousands have been killed,” Pangilinan said.

“Yet the drug menace has become worse while drug syndicates and customs officials behind the smuggling of tons of shabu through the BoC go unpunished,” he added.

But Senate President Vicente Sotto III expressed support to whatever the Foreign Affairs Department proposes best for the country.

“He would be in the best position to assess what is beneficial for our country as far as diplomacy with others is concerned,” Sotto said of Locsin.

Locsin posted the idea on Saturday (July 13) when a netizen inquired about how the Philippine representation in Iceland reacted to the Council’s approval of Iceland’s resolution seeking to probe into the human rights situation in the Philippines in relation to the Duterte administration’s drug war.

READ: Philippines eyes withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

The resolution garnered 18 affirmative votes, 14 negative and 15 abstentions. – with details from Nel Maribojoc.

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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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PNP: No comment on UN resolution to probe human rights situation in the Philippines

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has not commented on the United Nations (UN) resolution to probe the human rights situation in the Philippines.

Out of the 47 countries that are members of the UN Human Rights Council, 18 countries voted in favor of the resolution, 14 voted no while 15 countries abstained.

PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac said that the issue “will be appropriately addressed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

“Meantime, the PNP will remain guided by instructions of higher authorities,” he said in a statement.—AAC

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