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In pics: Takht-e-Rustam Stupa in Aybak, Afghanistan

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Photo taken on June 29, 2020 shows the Takht-e-Rustam Stupa in Aybak, Samangan province, Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s Ministry of Information and Culture has signed a contract with a local firm, the National Development Company, for the restoration of 12 historical monuments including the Takht-e-Rustam Stupa, the country’s national news agency reported on June 28. (Photo by Kawa Basharat/Xinhua)

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

United States has no right to extend UN arms embargo on Iran: Iranian envoy

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The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations said on Sunday that the United States calls for the extension of a UN Security Council arms embargo on Iran lack legal standing in international law, Press TV reported.

The United States ambassador to the United Nations “wrongly” believes Washington retains the right to snap back sanctions against Tehran under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, said Majid Takht-Ravanchi.

Washington is no longer a “participant” in the 2016 Iranian nuclear deal, Takht-Ravanchi noted, referring to United States President Donald Trump‘s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal two years ago.

Under Resolution 2231, arms embargo on Iran will be lifted in October 2020. However, the United States says it is considering “every possibility” to renew the UN Security Council ban on selling conventional arms to Iran.

Iran has said it would not accept the renewal of UN arms ban against the Islamic republic.

(XINHUA)

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Iran says reported U.S. attempt to extend Iran’s arms embargo breaches UN resolution

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The U.S. attempt to extend Iran‘s arms embargo, reported by media, is in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, Iranian ambassador to the United Nations said on Wednesday.

The UN “Security Council members should pay heed to the fact that any move to counter the lifting of Iran’s arms embargo violates UNSC Resolution 2231,” Majid Takht-Ravanchi told official IRNA news agency.

He said that by withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, the United States violated both Resolution 2231 and its commitments stipulated under the JCPOA.

On Sunday, some western media reports said that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “is reportedly drafting his team to come up with legal arguments as to how the United States is still a part on nuclear agreement” to use UN Security Council leverage to extend JCPOA-endorsed arms embargo on Iran which ends in six months.

(XINHUA)

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Iran names new UN Ambassador as tensions rise with Washington

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Iran has named career diplomat and ex-nuclear negotiator, Majid Takht Ravanchi, as its ambassador to the United Nations, state media said.

Iran said this as it tries to salvage a nuclear deal with world powers after the unilateral U.S. withdrawal.

Ravanchi, 61, had been a senior political adviser in the office of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani since 2017.

Before that, he was deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs and also served as ambassador to Switzerland.

His move to the United Nations is notable as he was among the negotiators, who helped Iran reach agreement in 2015 with the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China on limiting its nuclear activity in return for sanctions relief.

But the deal was thrown into doubt in 2018 when Trump pulled out the United States, which was concluded before he took office, saying the accord signed before he took office unduly favoured Iran.

Other co-signatories are trying to salvage the deal and shield Iran from renewed U.S. sanctions.

Rouhani, who could be weakened by damage to Iran’s economy if the deal falls apart, warned other signatories on Tuesday to honour their pledges before Tehran’s patience runs out.

On Monday, Trump designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist organisation.

Iran called the move “vicious’’ and vowed to retaliate.

Edited by: Abigael Joshua/Abdulfatah Babatunde
(NAN)

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Afghan air raids kill 24 insurgents in northern Faryab province

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Afghan army on Monday said up to two dozen militants were killed after government forces’ helicopter gunships targeted a Taliban gathering in Pashtun Kot district of Afghanistan’s northern Faryab province.

According to an army spokesman in the northern region Mohammad Hanif Rezai, acting upon intelligence report, the army helicopters pounded Taliban gathering in Takhta Bazaar area of Pashtun Kot district on Sunday

“They killed 24 militants on the spot and injuring 31 others.

“A Taliban senior commander Makhdom Alam is also among the injured insurgents,’’ Rezai contended.

However, Taliban militants, who are in control of parts of Faryab province and threatening provincial capital Maimana, are yet to make comment on the report.

Edited by: Felix Ajide
(NAN)

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Iran permits women to attend public viewing centres for Wednesday’s World Cup match

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Iranian authorities have permitted women to access public viewing centres of the football World Cup after recent national and international protests against the long-standing ban.

“The permit is only valid for the public viewing of Wednesday’s World Cup match between Iran and Spain in Russia,’’ Iranian news agency ISNA reported.

Women were previously banned from attending the public viewings of Iran’s opening World Cup game.

In the Azadi and Takhti stadiums in Tehran, women will be permitted to watch the match live on a large screen from the family stands, making it the first time since the Islamic revolution in 1979 that women have been legally permitted to enter the Azadi Stadium.

“If all goes well, this could be a prelude to the general lifting of the women’s stadium ban,’’ reformist lawmaker Tayebeh Siavoshi told ISNA.

The public viewing ban against women has also been lifted in parks and other public facilities for the match against Spain.

In spite of the ban being in place for Iran’s first World Cup match against Morocco on Friday, many women took to the streets after the game to celebrate Iran’s 1-0 victory.

According to eyewitness reports, some took off their headscarves and danced with male fans into the early hours of the morning.

Women in Iran have been banned from entering stadiums for over 40 years, with ultra-conservative clerics arguing that women should not witness frenetic male fans and their pithy slogans.

The ruling, however, has even been countered by President Hassan Rouhani, who himself is a cleric.

“Women cannot be punished if men in the stadiums do vulgar things,’’ said Rouhani.

At the World Cup in Russia, Iranian fans and women activists have protested with placards in the stands against the stadium ban in Iran.

World football’s governing body FIFA has explicitly allowed the initiative.

Edited by: Abiodun Oluleye/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
(NAN)

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Iran vows countermeasure against U.S. visa ban

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Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, said that Iran will counter the U.S. visa ban against the Iranians, Tehran Times daily reported on Wednesday.

“Our earlier countermeasure against Trump’s order (to stop visa issuance for Iranians) is still in place,” Takht-Ravanchi said, adding that “there is no need for a new decision.”

On Jan. 27, Trump issued an executive order for a 90-day ban on the entry visa issuance for seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa, namely, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen. However, it was halted later by a federal court.

On Jan. 31, Iran said that it had stopped granting visas to U.S. citizens in response to Washington’s travel ban.

On Monday, the White House revised the earlier executive order and signed a new order that excludes Iraqi citizens, but keeps the visa applicants from six other countries, still targeting Iranians. The order is to be put into effect on March 16.

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Iran bars U.S. visitors in retaliation to Trump’s revised ban

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Iran will not issue visas to Americans as long as the U. S. refuses to issue visas to Iranians, Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi said in Tehran on Tuesday.

Tehran said it was unperturbed by the renewed ban on Iranian visitors under US President Donald Trump’s revised executive order from Monday, which had been forced after legal challenges overturned the original order.

Takht-Ravanchi said: “the new executive order is also worthless from a judicial point of view.

“As long as Iranians were barred from entering the U.S., U.S. citizens would be barred from entering Iran; as soon as the U.S. lifts the ban, as it was forced to do at the end of February, Iran would respond in kind.”

Takht-Ravanchi stressed that Iran had never been involved in any terrorist attacks on US soil.

He said countries that were involved were not on Trump’s list.

Trump signed a revised executive order Monday halting new visas for 90 days for people from six majority-Muslim countries- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and also suspending refugee admissions for 120 days.

The new order takes effect March 16.

Iraq was on the previous 90-day ban order but is now removed from the list due to enhanced cooperation with the government in Baghdad, the White House said.

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Iran rules out review of nuclear deal despite U.S. concerns

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said Iran will not accept a review of its international nuclear deal, local media reported on Wednesday.

The international nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), resolved Tehran’s decade-long controversial nuclear issue.

“Renegotiation of the deal is totally meaningless, and a return to the past is impossible,’’ Rouhani said in response to recent remarks by Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s choice as secretary of state.

Tillerson said in his Senate confirmation hearing that he recommends a “full review” of the nuclear deal with Iran.

“Mr Donald Trump as President-elect of the U.S. has so far made some unsettling remarks about the JCPOA,’’ Rouhani said on Tuesday.

“However, negotiations have already been conducted, completed, and approved by the UN Security Council,’’ Rouhani stressed.

Earlier, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for the U.S. and European Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi also said that Iran has reiterated several times that the nuclear dossier will not be opened again under any circumstances.

“Iran will not allow a renegotiation of the agreement.

“This stance is shared by the six world powers, including Russia, China, the U.S., Britain, France and Germany, who participated in diplomatic efforts with Iran on its nuclear program,’’ Ravanchi said.

Iran has repeatedly accused the U.S. of violating the JCPOA since its implementation in January 2016.

Iran and the six world powers reached an agreement on Iran’s nuclear issue in July 2015 which lifted the sanctions imposed upon Iran yet limited its nuclear program.

The deal limits Iran’s nuclear activities as it would take Tehran no less than a year to produce enough fissile materials to produce a nuclear weapon.

According to the agreed-upon deal, Iran will allow regular inspections of its facilities.

In return, the U.S. and the European Union suspended nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran, and lifted past UN Security Council sanction resolutions.

Several U.S. legislators expressed concern over the deal, warning that Tehran could evade inspections and use the funds from sanction relief to destabilise the region.

(Edited by: Abiodun Oluleye/Julius Enehikhuere)
(NAN)

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Nuclear deal can’t be renegotiated, says Iranian minister

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– There will be no renegotiation of Iran’s nuclear deal, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi said on Tuesday, despite concerns that incoming U.S. president-elect Donald Trump might scrap the deal.

In an interview with the Iranian newspaper Etemad, Ravanchi insisted on keeping all arrangements of the nuclear deal, saying further changes are non-negotiable.

The agreement is supposed to make sure Iran uses its nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes, preventing the regime in Tehran from gaining nuclear weapons instead. In exchange, the international community pledged to lift economic sanctions.

The deal was negotiated between Iran and all five permanent members UN Security Council, plus Germany, in Vienna last year.

It is important for all parties to keep their commitments, Ravanchi pointed out. He said it might be time to undo the whole deal if signatory countries can opt out at will.

Trump has repeatedly pledged to do just that.

Nevertheless, Ravanchi said the agreement could still be in danger.

He criticised US sanctions which were not part of the deal that make it difficult for banks to invest in Iran.

In order to ease financial boundaries, Iranian officials are currently in Brussels, negotiating with representatives of the European Union.

A lack of foreign investment could also endanger a possible re-election of moderate Iranian President Hassan Rowhani next May.  (dpa/ NAN)

(Edited by: Julius Enehikhuere)
(NAN)

 

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