Archive for the ‘World’ Category
Iran threatens Israel; new EU sanctions take force
Last Updated on Sunday, 1 July 2012 12:09 Written by admin Sunday, 1 July 2012 12:09
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran announced missile tests on Sunday and threatened to wipe Israel “off the face of the earth” if the Jewish state attacked it, brandishing some of its starkest threats on the day Europe began enforcing an oil embargo and harsh new sanctions.
The European sanctions – including a ban on imports of Iranian oil by EU states and measures that make it difficult for other countries to trade with Iran – were enacted earlier this year but mainly came into effect on July 1.
They are designed to break Iran’s economy and force it to curb nuclear work that Western countries say is aimed at producing an atomic weapon. Reporting by Reuters has shown in recent months that the sanctions have already had a significant effect on Iran’s economy.
Israel says it could attack Iran if diplomacy fails to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear aims. The United States also says military force is on the table as a last resort, but U.S. officials have repeatedly encouraged the Israelis to be patient while new sanctions take effect.
Washington said the EU’s oil ban might force Tehran to give ground at the next round of nuclear talks, scheduled for this week in Istanbul.
Announcing three days of missile tests in the coming week, Revolutionary Guards General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the exercises should be seen as a message “that the Islamic Republic of Iran is resolute in standing up to … bullying, and will respond to any possible evil decisively and strongly.”
Any attack on Iran by Israel would be answered resolutely: “If they take any action, they will hand us an excuse to wipe them off the face of the earth,” said Hajizadeh, head of the Guards’ airborne division, according to state news agency IRNA.
The missile tests will target mock-ups of air bases in the region, Hajizadeh said, adding that its ability to strike U.S. bases in the Gulf protects Iran from U.S. support for Israel.
“U.S. bases in the region are within range of our missiles and weapons, and therefore they certainly will not cooperate with the regime (Israel),” he told IRNA.
Iran has repeatedly unnerved oil markets by threatening reprisals if it were to be attacked or its trade disrupted.
The threat against the Jewish state echoed words President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke in 2005, saying Israel “must be wiped off the page of time” – a phrase often translated as “wiped off the map” and cited by Israel to show how allowing Iran to get nuclear arms would be a threat to its existence.
The EU ban on Iranian oil imports directly deprives Iran of a market that bought 18 percent of its exports a year ago. The sanctions also bar EU companies from transporting Iranian crude or insuring shipments, hurting its trade worldwide.
“They signal our clear determination to intensify the peaceful diplomatic pressure,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.
The EU sanctions come alongside stringent new measures imposed by Washington this year on third countries doing business with Iran. The United States welcomed the EU sanctions as an “essential part” of diplomatic efforts “to seek a peaceful resolution that addresses the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney said he hoped the sanctions would force Tehran to make concessions in technical-level talks with six world powers later this week.
“Iran has an opportunity to pursue substantive negotiations, beginning with expert level talks this week in Istanbul, and must take concrete steps toward a comprehensive resolution of the international community’s concerns with Iran’s nuclear activities,” Carney said in a statement.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – foes of Iran which face it across the oil-rich Gulf – announced their own joint air force exercises on Sunday which they said would take “several days,” their state news agencies reported.
In three rounds of talks between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, the Western powers have demanded Tehran halt high-grade uranium enrichment, ship out all high-grade uranium and close a key enrichment facility.
The talks lost steam at the last meeting in Moscow last month and there was not enough common ground for negotiators to agree whether to meet again. Officials – but not political decision-makers – meet in Turkey on Tuesday.
Washington sees the sanctions and talks as a potential way out of the standoff to avert the need for military action, but has not said it would block Israel from attacking Iran.
Tehran says it has a right to peaceful nuclear technologies and is not seeking the bomb. It accuses nuclear-armed states of hypocrisy. Officials said they were taking steps to reduce the economic impact of the new sanctions.
“We are implementing programs to counter sanctions and we will confront these malicious policies,” Mehr news agency quoted Iranian central bank governor Mahmoud Bahmani as saying.
Bahmani has struggled to prevent a plunge in the value of the rial currency and steadily rising inflation as the sanctions have taken effect. He said the effects of the sanctions were tough but that Iran had built up $ 150 billion in foreign reserves to protect its economy.
Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said oil importing countries would be the losers if the sanctions lead to price rises.
“All possible options have been planned in government to counter sanctions,” Qasemi said on the ministry’s website.
Last Friday, another Revolutionary Guards commander, Ali Fadavi, said Iran would equip its ships in the Strait of Hormuz – the neck of the Gulf and a vital oil transit point – with shorter-range missiles.
(Additional reporting by Marcus George and Isabel Coles in Dubai and by Jeff Mason in Washington; Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Peter Graff)
Egypt’s new president faces burden of expectation
Last Updated on Sunday, 1 July 2012 12:09 Written by admin Sunday, 1 July 2012 12:09
CAIRO (Reuters) – If Egypt‘s new president, Mohamed Mursi, needs any reminder of the weight of expectations bearing down as he begins work, he can glance from a window of the presidential palace.
Citizens seeking jobs, compensation from the state or clemency for jailed relatives crowded at the palace gates on Sunday, showing how Mursi‘s unprecedented popular mandate has raised hopes for a more responsive kind of government.
“My name is Alaa Ahmed Bayoumy and I am here to ask for a higher pension,” said one 52-year-old among the group mingling with palace security officials. “I have five children and my rent costs more than my pension. That is unacceptable.”
As Mursi worked to replace an army-backed interim cabinet with his new government, members of the public bearing petitions were allowed to rest in the gardens outside the palace perimeter, where they ate, drank and lounged in the shade.
Ordinary Egyptians were never allowed near the palace under President Hosni Mubarak, toppled in a popular revolt last year.
Anxious to show a break with his autocratic predecessor, Mursi has said he will not turn his back on a compatriot and will seek justice for all Egyptians, including those killed or wounded in the uprising.
Like Mursi, Mubarak had humble village origins, but the former air force chief slipped out of touch with an increasingly impoverished population during three decades in power.
In Mubarak’s day, staging political protests was almost impossible, with large numbers of police always on hand to disperse and often arrest anyone brave enough to try.
Streets plied by the presidential motorcade were smartened up and lined with crowds of admirers bussed in for the occasion – or simply closed to traffic for hours, creating huge jams for motorists, to allow the president to speed across the capital.
When Mubarak occupied the presidential palace in central Cairo, security was tight.
On Sunday, uniformed police and state security officers sporting suits and dark glasses tried to deal calmly with the crowd hoping to enter the presidential precincts, taking down names or suggesting that people make written requests for help.
Visitors pleading volubly for an audience with Mursi were occasionally let inside the palace grounds.
An old woman wearing a black veil, Ahlam Mohamed, sat outside on the pavement. “I want a job for my son. He has been staying at home for months and he is the one who feeds us. Without him we will die,” she said.
Haitham Ezzat, 29, demanded compensation because a facial injury sustained during the anti-Mubarak revolt had stopped him working.
“I am hoping to meet the president,” said another man, 61-year-old Sayed Rashad, who said he had not been compensated for a war wound even despite filing a lawsuit against the army.
Workers laid off during Mubarak-era economic reforms brandished a petition naming 15 companies they accused of illegally firing employees.
“We are here to tell the president to help us quickly. If he wants to get the production cycle moving again, we need to be paid and secure all our rights,” said Atef Mondy, 38, head of the Movement for Fired Workers.
Some 40 percent of Egyptians live on less than $ 2 a day. The uprising was driven by a sense that nothing could get worse, but for many it has.
The economy is floundering and joblessness is growing after political turmoil hammered investment and tourism.
State finances are stretched, which will make it hard for Mursi to spend his way to popularity. His policy programme is anyway geared towards liberalization to spur investment, raising the risk of deeper economic pain in the near term.
That would come as a shock to many Egyptians who are hoping Mursi will turn on state taps and provide benefits on a far greater scale than those distributed by his Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood’s charity and social welfare networks helped to make it one of Egypt’s most popular political forces, providing cheap food, medicine and other essentials to the poor.
Some wonder whether Mursi, whose prerogatives were clipped by the military even before he took office on Saturday, has the power to drive through radical change.
Any attempt to tackle poverty among Egypt’s 82 million people will run up against an inefficient, lethargic bureaucracy with vested interests that could slow the pace of reform.
For now, Mursi is promising swift measures with an immediate social impact, pledging to get traffic moving, restore security, collect rubbish, and clear bottlenecks in the distribution of subsidized bread, petrol and cooking gas.
But with the military keeping a grip on national security, a remit that may include control of the Ministry of Justice, some popular demands may be impossible for Mursi to meet.
Among those waiting to see the 60-year-old president on Sunday were three women – Nahed Hussein Abdel Fattah, Marwa Khaled and Nadia Mohamed Ahmed – demanding the release of family members who they say were framed and jailed under Mubarak.
“We know Mubarak’s people were tyrants and thugs. They used to fabricate crimes against people and they did that to my husband,” said Ahmed.
As the day wore on, some of the petitioners at the palace gates began to lose patience. Some drifted away, others began shouting at the police keeping them outside.
“Open this door. It will never stand between you and your people, nor will it protect you from us,” they cried.
(Writing by Tom Pfeiffer; Editing by Alistair Lyon)
Mexican election could return longtime ruling party to power
Last Updated on Sunday, 1 July 2012 12:08 Written by admin Sunday, 1 July 2012 12:08
Lot to love here RT @McCollumAshley: .@mattbuchanan talking 5 years of the iPhone on CNN. http://t.co/HGBXGCKf
World News Headlines – Yahoo! News
Iran says happy to examine U.S. plot allegations (Reuters)
Last Updated on Monday, 17 October 2011 05:52 Written by admin Monday, 17 October 2011 05:52
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran said on Monday it would take a look at “seriously and patiently” U.S. allegations it prepared to assassinate a Saudi ambassador and called on Washington to deliver evidence of the plot it has dismissed as baseless propaganda.
“We are well prepared to look at any matter, even if fabricated, significantly and patiently, and we have known as on The usa to submit to us any information in regard to this scenario,” Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA information company.
U.S. authorities explained very last week they had foiled a plot to destroy Saudi’s ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, and had arrested an Iranian-U.S. joint nationwide — information that raised tensions in between Tehran, its Arab neighbors and the West.
President Barack Obama said the foiled plot must lead to tighter sanctions against Iran — previously beneath numerous rounds of U.N. sanctions above its nuclear program — and repeated that all options are on the table to deal with the Islamic republic, a tacit threat of potential army action.
U.N. Secretary-Common Ban Ki-moon stated on Monday he had passed correspondence about the U.S. suspicions of Iran’s involvement in the alleged plot to the U.N. Security Council.
Tehran says Washington fabricated the plot to divert attention from its own economic difficulties and boost pressure on Iran, which it has lengthy regarded as a supporter of “terrorist” groups with nuclear weapons ambitions.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned the West Iran will counter any “inappropriate measure” taken in opposition to it and stated he had no concern of military or sanctions threats.
“Despite the high army, protection, propaganda and sanctions strain, the Islamic Republic is very pleased not to again down even an iota for the duration of the past 32 many years,” he stated in a televised speech during a tour of Kermanshah province.
“The Iranian nation and its officials will not yield to the enemies’ blackmailing and pressure.”
The plot furor appears to have killed any possibility of a rapid return to talks among Tehran and world powers worried about its nuclear course, but Salehi stated Iran continued to make strides in the technologies it states is for purely peaceful ends.
Salehi conceded Iran had at first feared the assassination of a nuclear scientist in Tehran final November — which it blamed on Israel — had dealt a significant blow to a important portion of its atomic work.
“When (Majid) Shahriyari was martyred we have been anxious due to the fact he was the only man or woman who understood about this expert area (enriching uranium to 20 percent purity),” he mentioned.
“But soon after our trip to (the nuclear plant in the town of) Isfahan, I recognized that the graceful martyr had skilled about twenty folks in his workshops. Appropriate now we have several thousand nuclear engineers and there is virtually nothing in the nuclear concern that we want to obtain but can’t.”
Iran’s announcement final year that it had escalated uranium enrichment from the lower level essential for electrical power creation to twenty %, alarmed many international locations that feared it was a crucial phase towards making materials potent enough for a nuclear bomb.
Tehran states the fuel is essential to make isotopes for cancer treatment and preceding nuclear talks targeted on a deal to provide ready-built fuel for its healthcare reactor in trade for some of Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium.
Salehi mentioned in January — forward of the previous spherical of nuclear talks that then stalled — that these kinds of a fuel swap deal was turning out to be much less relevant as Iran would be able to generate its personal fuel plates for the reactor in the very first half of the Iranian yr, which began in March.
With that deadline currently passed, Salehi said on Monday Iran would be creating the medical reactor fuel within the subsequent four to five months. He explained Iran had created nearly 70 kg (a hundred and fifty lb) of twenty % enriched uranium, up from an approximated 40 kg in January.
(Producing by Robin Pomeroy modifying by Philippa Fletcher)