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Trump signs proclamation restricting travel from 8 countries

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, September 25th, 2017

US President Donald Trump on Sunday signed the new rules, which will impact the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen and will take effect on October 18.

The restrictions range from full travel bans on nationals from countries like Syria to more targeted restrictions.

A suspension of non-immigrant visas to citizens for Venezuela, for instance, applies only to senior government officials and their immediate families.

The announcement comes the same day as trump’s temporary ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – is set to expire, 90 days after it went into effect.

Officials stressed that valid visas would not be revoked as a result of the proclamation.

The order also permits but does not guarantee, case-by-case waivers.

The restrictions are targeted at countries that Department of Homeland Security officials said they refuse to share information with the U.S. or haven’t taken necessary security precautions.

The new policy could complicate the Supreme Court’s review of the order, which is scheduled for argument next month. — Reuters

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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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Oil tanker bound for Syria seized in Gibraltar for sanctions-busting

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2019

British Royal Marines seized an oil tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday (July 4) accused of bringing oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions, a dramatic step that could escalate confrontation between the West and Iran.

The Grace 1 tanker was impounded in the British territory at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, after sailing around Africa from the Gulf.

Shipping data reviewed by Reuters suggests it had been loaded with Iranian oil off the coast of Iran, although its documents say the oil is from neighboring Iraq.

The Gibraltar authorities who seized it did so under the authority of European sanctions against Syria that have been in place for years, with no reference to the source of the oil.

But the likelihood that the cargo was Iranian draws a link between this incident and a new U.S. effort to halt all global sales of Iranian crude, in what Tehran has described as an illegal “economic war” against it.

European countries have tried to stay neutral in that confrontation, which saw the United States calling off airstrikes against Iran just minutes before impact last month, and Tehran amassing stocks of enriched uranium banned under a nuclear deal.

In a statement, the Gibraltar government said it had reasonable grounds to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas refinery in Syria. (REUTERS)

(Production: Lisa Giles-Keddie)

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