US’s religious report gives wrong information about VN

In a speech to parliament outlining plans for his new term, President Hassan Rouhani hit out at US counterpart Donald Trump, saying he had shown the world that Washington was "not a good partner." President Hassan Rouhani warned Tuesday that Iran could abandon its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers within hours if the United States keeps on imposing new sanctions. In a speech to parliament outlining plans for his new term, Rouhani also hit out at US counterpart Donald Trump, saying he had shown the world that Washington was "not a good partner." Rouhani's comments come with the nuclear deal under mounting pressure after Tehran carried out missile tests and strikes, and Washington imposed new sanctions -- with each accusing the other of violating the spirit of the agreement. Rouhani warned that Iran was ready to walk out of the deal -- which saw the lifting of most international sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme -- if Washington persisted. "Those who try to return to the language of threats and sanctions are prisoners of their past delusions," he said in the televised address. "If they want to go back to that experience, definitely in a short time -- not weeks or months, but in the scale of hours and days -- we will return to our previous situation very much stronger." He said Iran did prefer to stick with the nuclear deal, which he called "a model of victory for peace and diplomacy over war…... [read more]

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin on Sunday (Jul 30) said the United States would have to cut 755 diplomatic staff in Russia and warned of a prolonged gridlock in its ties after the US Congress backed new sanctions against the Kremlin. This photo taken on May 7, 2013 shows Russian and the US flags running up as the US Secretary of State arrives at Moscow Vnukovo Airport. (Photo: AFP/Mladen Antonov) Putin added bluntly that Russia was able to raise the stakes with America even further, although he hoped this would be unnecessary. On Friday, the Russian foreign ministry demanded Washington cut its diplomatic presence in Russia by Sep 1 to 455 people - the same number Moscow has in the US. "More than a thousand people - diplomats and technical personnel - were working and are still working" at the US embassy and consulates, Putin said in an interview with Rossia-24 television. "755 people must stop their activities in Russia." The US State Department, solicited for a response by AFP, said it did not comment on "the number" of US officials serving abroad. Putin added that an upturn in Russia's relations with Washington could not be expected "any time soon". "We have waited long enough, hoping that the situation would perhaps change for the better," he said. "But it seems that even if the situation is changing, it's not for any…... [read more]

In its initial response, the UN Security Council strongly condemned the killing, calling it a serious violation against the ceasefire truce between the Syrian Government and the opposition. The Security Council urged the Government to immediately halt its use of heavy weapons and withdraw its forces from populated cities. Kofi Annan, the special envoy of the UN and the Arab League, arrived in Damascus on May 28 to persuade both sides to take specific actions to bring the violence to an end. Many countries around the world have made appeals to the factions in Syria to end the 14-month-long conflict that has killed more than 12,600 people. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow is unsatisfied with the UN-Arab League peace initiative in Syria. Russia is worried about the recurrence of civilian massacres and does not rule out the possibility that outside influences may be inciting the violence. In a phone call, French President Francois Hollande and the British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to take action to increase pressure on the Syrian President and to hold a Friends of Syria conference in France in the near future. Jihad Makdissi, a spokesperson for Syrian Foreign Ministry, claimed Government troops weren’t involved in the killings in Houla. He said the Syrian Government has become the object of false allegations. Opposition groups called on the UN to intercede without delay to keep the Damascus Government from committing further massacres. Regardless of how the Houla massacre occurred, it demonstrates that the cease fire…... [read more]

Vietnam has confirmed that China is stationing its giant drilling rig in the area within Vietnam’s territorial waters, and its escort vessels collided with Vietnamese boats on duty, injuring six sailors and causing property damage. At an international press briefing in Washington DC on May 8, deputy spokesperson of the US Department of State Marie Harf called on China to stop its provocative, escalating act in the East Sea – a dangerous step that can threaten peace and stability in the region. She voiced the US’s concern about escalation in the region, saying any sovereign claims should be settled peacefully and any effort to change the status quo running counter to international law threatens regional peace and stability. Harf said the US would continue to ask China to settle sovereign disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, and put an end to similar provocative acts. Earlier on May 7, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressed the US’s concern about China’s unilateral decision to anchor its drilling rig in the disputed waters, as well as its dangerous conduct and intimidation by Chinese vessels. “We continue to encourage both sides to take to reduce the rhetoric and to pull back on provocative steps that are causing this level of tension in the region,” she said. Congressman Eni Faleomavaega of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, on May 8 also strongly criticized China for violating Vietnam’s sovereignty and called upon the US to issue a clear and decisive…... [read more]

Khamenei, the Islamic Republic's most powerful figure and who has the last say on all state matters, was making his first comments on the interim deal reached last week in the Swiss city of Lausanne. His stand on the lifting of sanctions matched earlier comments by Rouhani, who said Iran would only sign a final nuclear accord if all measures imposed over its disputed atomic work are lifted on the same day. These include nuclear-related United Nations resolutions as well as US and EU nuclear-related economic sanctions. "All sanctions should be removed when the deal is signed. If the sanctions removal depends on other processes, then why did we start the negotiations?" Khamenei said. The US State Department on April 9 repeated its position that sanctions against Iran would be removed gradually.... [read more]

No US personnel were hurt in the blast, according to the US State Department, which said a "vehicle-borne improvised explosive device" exploded right outside the entrance to the heavily fortified compound. Kurdistan is an important partner for the US-led coalition in its campaign to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State group, which overran large parts of Iraq last summer and threatened to reach Erbil. A Reuters witness heard the blast, which was followed by gunfire and a column of black smoke high above the Ankawa district, a predominantly Christian neighborhood packed with cafes popular with foreigners. "It seems the consulate was the target," Nihad Qoja, the mayor of Erbil's city center, told Reuters. The head of security for Ankawa said three people were killed and 14 wounded. "They (Islamic State) want to show they are present," Sherzad Farmand said. Islamic State also claimed responsibility for two car bombings in the Baghdad that killed at least 27 people on April 17.... [read more]

Kerry spoke at the United Nations on the opening day of a month-long conference taking stock of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and ahead of a meeting in New York with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, their first face-to-face encounter since recent marathon talks in Lausanne, Switzerland. Zarif and Kerry met later on April 27 at the Iranian UN ambassador's residence across from Central Park and discussed efforts to secure a final agreement between Iran and the six powers by a June 30 deadline. The meeting was "productive," a senior US State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "They discussed the work that political directors and experts did last week in Vienna and the path forward for the talks," the official added. Kerry told the 191 NPT parties: "We are, in fact, closer than ever to the good, comprehensive deal that we have been seeking, and if we can get there, the entire world will be safer." He said bringing Iran back into compliance with the pact was always at the heart of negotiations with Tehran. "If finalized and implemented, an agreement will close off all of Iran's possible pathways to the nuclear material required for a nuclear weapon and give the international community the confidence that it needs to know that Iran's nuclear program is indeed exclusively peaceful," he said. Kerry added, however, that "the hard work is far from over and some key issues remain unresolved." In remarks to Iranian state television upon his arrival…... [read more]

Relations between Russia and the West are at their lowest ebb since the end of the Cold War because of Moscow's March 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its backing for pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. The West has imposed economic sanctions on Russia, triggering retaliatory measures by Moscow. The US State Department announced the talks and indirectly alluded to the disagreements, saying the trip aimed "to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure US views are clearly conveyed." The two sides plan to discuss Syria, where they disagree on how to end the civil war engulfing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Iran, where they are seeking an agreement to curb Tehran's nuclear program by June 30, the State Department said. The Russian foreign ministry also announced Kerry's visit to the Black Sea resort but said nothing about his meeting Putin, saying he would see Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and blaming Washington for many global problems. Russia denies Western and Ukrainian accusations that it is arming the pro-Russian separatists battling the government and supporting them with its own military forces. More than 6,100 people have been killed since April 2014 in the Ukraine crisis. The US has raised the possibility of providing arms to help Ukrainian government forces, but key European countries such as Germany remain opposed to this. In a sign of Western displeasure over Ukraine, the leaders of the United States, Germany, and France skipped a military parade in Moscow on…... [read more]

The ceasefire began at 11 p.m. (2000 GMT), said Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, spokesman for a Saudi-led coalition which has been striking the country's Houthi rebels since March 26. It is intended to allow the shipment of food and medicine to the country, which aid groups warn faces a humanitarian catastrophe after more than seven weeks of war. There was no let up in fighting, despite the imminent truce. The Houthis shelled Saudi border areas in Jizan province until the last moments before the ceasefire started, Asseri said on al-Arabiya television, adding that this gave him no confidence the rebel group intended to keep to the truce. And as the ceasefire neared, witnesses said the Saudi-led alliance bombed Houthi positions in the southern port of Aden, where local armed groups were still fighting the rebels. The United States said it was tracking Iranian warships accompanying the vessel bound for Hodaida port, and urged Iran instead to use a UN distribution hub in Djibouti to provide help to people in the war-damaged Arabian Peninsula country. "We would discourage any provocative actions," said US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke. Iran is an ally of the Houthi movement, Yemen's most powerful political faction which the coalition accuses of toppling the country's rightful government. Iranian warships will escort the vessel, a naval commander was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.... [read more]

More than 2,800 people have been killed since an Arab alliance began air raids on March 26 to try to roll back the Iranian-backed Houthis' advances across much of Yemen and reinstate exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that in five days of "proximity talks" - in which he shuttled between factions who refused to sit at the same table - the two sides agreed in principle on the need for a ceasefire and withdrawal of forces in keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 2216. "There is a certain willingness from all the parties to discuss issues around a ceasefire accompanied by withdrawal ... I personally come out from these few days with a certain degree of optimism that we can achieve this (in further consultations) in the coming days," he told a news conference in Geneva. He said he would fly to New York on June 21 to brief the UN Security Council, where major powers also needed to sign off on his proposal for a force of civilian observers to monitor any truce and withdrawals on the ground. Hadi's foreign minister, Reyad Yassin Abdullah, said the talks made no significant headway but there was room for more discussions, although no date had been scheduled for any. Hadi's government has demanded that the Houthis, who are allied with Yemeni military units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, pull out of cities captured since last September as a precondition for a ceasefire.…... [read more]

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