Iran’s foreign minister has strongly condemned the ordering of new sanctions against Iran in the wake of the attacks on major Saudi oil facilities on the weekend, which Riyadh and Washington have blamed on Tehran.
U.S. President Donald Trump directed the U.S. Treasury Department to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran following the strikes, which caused fires at two facilities operated by Saudi state oil giant Aramco and sent oil prices soaring.
It was not immediately clear what specific actions Trump had ordered.
Responding on Twitter on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the decision as “economic terrorism, illegal and inhumane.”
Tehran has denied any involvement in the attacks. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday called them an “act of war” by Iran.
Washington began a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, reinstating hard-hitting oil and financial sanctions.
The attacks on oil facilities – by a combination of drones and missiles, according to the Saudis – marked a dramatic escalation in the confrontation, sparking oil supply concerns and fears of an outbreak of fighting between the U.S. and Iran.
Yemen’s Iran-linked Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the strikes. But Pompeo called the claims “fraudulent.”
(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)
Ondo governorship: PDP aspirant pledges to harness aviation, mechanised farming potentials
Mr Tony Erewa, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) aspirant for Ondo State governorship, has pledged to harmonise opportunities in aviation and agricultural sectors to boost the state’s economy if elected.
Erewa made the pledge in an interview with newsmen shortly after obtaining his expression of interest and nomination forms at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that as a technocrat, he had successfully run different businesses and organisations and would use his experiences and capability to turn the fortune of the state around.
“I have knowledge of modern agriculture and I will ensure that mechanised farming takes centre stage when I become governor.
“This will be better than the white-collar job that people are seeking.
“I will build a stadium in each of the three senatorial districts that will attract investors and attract international matches,’’ Erewa said.
He also pledged to transform the domestic airport at Akure, the state capital into an international one so as to make it possible for international flights to land and take off from there.
“This will bring a lot of international businesses into the state.
“It will also interest you to know that Ondo state has the largest coastal land (onshore) in the whole of West Africa and we will convert this into a tourist attraction.’’
Erewa, who expressed optimism that PDP would win the state governorship election, however, promised that all aspirants would work together for whoever emerged as the party’s candidate.
He also expressed optimism that he had what it takes to deliver Ondo state to the PDP at the Oct. 10 poll.
“We will put everything in place, put all hands on deck, move to all nooks and crannies of the state to propagate the story and sell our manifesto to the electorate.
“I believe they will vote for us and the PDP will win the forthcoming election in Ondo state.
“I know we are an opposition party but I have what it takes to defeat the All Progressives Congress (APC) and give our people better lives,’’ he said.
Ondo 2020: Okunomo, PDP governorship aspirant, picks party’s nomination form
Mr Banji Okunomo, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial aspirant in Ondo State, has picked a nomination form ahead of the party’s primaries scheduled for July.
Okunomo made the disclosure in a statement issued made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Okitipupa.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the nomination form was also in preparation for the governorship election slated for Oct. 10 in the state.
NAN also reports that Okunomo, who picked his form at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, was the first among the array of the PDP governorship aspirants in the state to do so.
Okunomo, a former PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, said that he dedicated the form to God and the people of the state, who, he said, he intended to serve as governor.
“I picked the nomination form of N21m at Wadata House in Abuja today and this has made me the first among the PDP aspirants to purchase the form.
“I also dedicate the form to God and the good people of the state, whom I intend to serve meritoriously, if I am elected the party’s flag bearer.
“I also promise to eradicate poverty, generate employment, create wealth and enhance the livelihood of the several millions of Ondo State residents, if elected governor,” he said.
NAN recalls that Okunomo was also the first aspirant, who collected the expression of interest form at the PDP secretariat in Akure last week.
Iran’s energy minister visits Iraq on boost of cooperation
Ardakanian met new Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Baghdad on Wednesday and urged for development of mutual ties in the field of electricity exchanges despite pressures of the United States.
During another meeting with his Iraqi counterpart earlier on the day, Ardakanian also discussed “synchronization of Iran-Iraq electricity network” and cooperation in the field of education in the electricity networking.
Iraq is under the U.S. pressures to reduce its reliance on energy imports from Iran.
COVID-19 tally in Iran exceeds 160,000 amid recent spike in new cases – Ministry
The number of COVID-19 cases in Iran has increased by 3,134, an upward trend compared to the previous day, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on Wednesday.
This takes infections beyond 160,000, with the death toll now exceeding 8,000, Jahanpur said.
, the daily increase was at 3,117.
“The country has a total of 160,696 coronavirus infection cases.
“The good news is that 125,206 people have recovered,” Jahanpur said on the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network channel.
to him, 70 new fatalities from COVID-19 have been detected in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 8,012.
In the past month, the spread of COVID-19 in the country was marked by an ebb-and-flow dynamic, with spikes in new cases followed by lulls and vice versa.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Iran reports 3,134 new COVID-19 cases, 160,696 in total
Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the Iranian health ministry, said during his daily briefing that 70 people died of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 8,012.
Out of the new cases, 493 were hospitalized, he added.
So far, 125,206 people have recovered and been discharged from hospitals and 2,557 remain in critical condition.
The country imposed a comprehensive lockdown in late February, and has started to gradually ease restrictions since late April.
5-magnitude earthquake in western Iran causes no casualties
The Crisis Management Bureau of the province is on alert, he said, adding the authorities are assessing the damage to the infrastructures and buildings.
5-magnitude earthquake hits western Iran
The focus of the earthquake was at the depth of 11 km, 33.524 degrees north latitude and 45.997 degrees east longitude.
No immediate reports are available about the possible casualties or injuries.
Urgent: 5-magnitude earthquake hits western Iran
Turkey’s pandemic slowdown continues, while Iran sees record daily rebound in COVID-19 cases
Turkey’s COVID-19 pandemic continued to slow down on Tuesday, with 786 new cases of infections registered. Meanwhile, Iran set a new record in daily cases in two months amidst a resurgence of the pandemic.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reported 786 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of confirmed cases in Turkey, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East, to 165,555.
At the same time, 22 more people died from the respiratory virus, taking the death toll in Turkey to 4,585, Koca tweeted.
“The lifting of the curfew does not mean that everything is back to normal,” Koca said.
Saudi Arabia’s COVID-19 cases rose to 89,011, after 1,869 new infections were registered.
The kingdom recorded 24 more fatalities, bringing the death toll to 549, while the total recoveries increased to 65,790 after 1,484 new recoveries were added.
A total of 2,599 more people recovered from the disease, bringing the total recoveries to 36,036, while three patients died, raising the death toll to 43.
The ministry also announced the recovery of 1,382 more patients, raising the total recoveries in the country to 14,281.
The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention said 388 more patients made full recovery from the virus, taking the tally of the UAE‘s recoveries to 18,726. The death toll in the UAE rose to 269, after three more fatalities were added on Tuesday.
Oman’ Ministry of Health announced 576 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total cases to 12,799. Nine new deaths were reported, bringing the death toll to 59.
It also said that 20 people died from the virus, in the highest single-day rise, bringing the death toll in the country to 235.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi reiterated his call on the citizens to cooperate with the health authorities through abiding by the measures of the full curfew to avoid catastrophic consequences.
The Israeli Ministry of Health on Tuesday reported 116 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily rise since May 1 when 155 infections were confirmed.
Earlier on Tuesday, Israel’s Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said Israel would expand the number of coronavirus tests, including tests for asymptomatic people.
A total of 1,152 new cases were recorded, raising the total infections with the coronavirus in Egypt since mid-February to 27,536. It is the sixth consecutive day for Egypt’s COVID-19 daily infections to surpass 1,000.
Lebanon’s number of COVID-19 infections increased on Tuesday by nine cases to 1,242, while the death toll remained unchanged at 27.
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