VIENNA (AP) - The Iranian government wants assurances that economic incentives that were part of a landmark deal to stop the country developing nuclear weapons will be protected, despite the U.S. withdrawal and threat of sanctions against companies who trade with Iran. A senior Iranian official says Tehran expects European Union countries to put forward concrete solutions by the end of May to keep the 2015 Vienna accord alive. The official briefed a small group of reporters on condition of anonymity ahead of talks Friday in the Austrian capital. He said failure to find a solution could prompt Iran to resume its nuclear program. The meeting between Iran, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia
She fought through a male-dominated world to become perhaps Iran's first female manufacturing boss, and was on the cusp of major success with the help of a European investor. Until Donald Trump brought her crashing back to earth. When Leila Daneshvar was a little girl, she used to sit on the floor of her father's workshop, asking for small jobs.
VIENNA (Reuters) - Nations that remain in the Iran nuclear deal meet on Friday for the first time since U.S. President Donald Trump left the pact, but diplomats see limited scope to salvage it after Washington vowed to be tougher than ever on Tehran. British, Chinese, French, German and Russian officials will try to flesh out with Iran's deputy foreign minister a strategy to save the deal by keeping oil and investment flowing, while circumventing U.S. sanctions that risk hurting the economy. The 2015 accord rests on lifting sanctions and allowing business with Iran in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme. The deal's proponents say it is crucial to forestalling a nuclear Iran and
Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron have questioned Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and cancellation of the US-North Korea summit during a meeting in Russia. Talking to reporters in St Petersburg, where they will speak on Friday at an annual economic forum, the Russian and French leaders reiterated their support for the Iran deal after the US departure. “I was personally assured that Iran is fulfilling all its obligations, so the question arises what grounds there were to exit this agreement,” Mr Putin said. “We welcome the efforts of Iran and Europe to preserve this deal, while understanding that it will be hard.” “Russia has never approved unilateral actions,” he added, referring to the renewed US sanctions against Iran. “Any action against a sovereign government can be taken only by United Nations security council, all the rest are illegitimate.” Mr Macron called for efforts to limit North Korea's nuclear programme to continue despite Mr Trump's cancellation on Thursday of a planned meeting with Kim Jong-un. “This process that was already launched to reduce tensions on the peninsula, and the process with the goal of denuclearisation, this process should continue,” Mr Macron said. Donald Trump announces the cancellation of a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday Credit: Win McNameeee/Getty Images Asked about the finding of an international investigation on Friday that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed over Ukraine in 2014 by a Russian military missile, Mr Putin was at first confused “what plane you're talking about”. Once this was clarified, he argued that Russia should be taking part in the investigation, even though it didn't lose any citizens in the tragedy as the other member states did. “From the start we proposed to work jointly on the investigation but to our surprise they're not letting us into this investigation,” he said. “Ukraine is working there even though Ukraine violated international law and didn't close airspace over a conflict area, but Russia isn't.” Major Western powers have largely avoided the St Petersburg economic forum since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and was hit by EU and US sanctions in response. But the mood was brighter this year as several oligarchs under sanctions gathered to sign major deals and “party like a Russian” at an after party headlined by Robbie Williams. Even Mr Macron and Mr Putin had a chance to indulge themselves at a dinner featuring caviar, crab, sturgeon and venison. The Dutch-led investigation team presents its findings on Thursday next to a pieces of the Buk missile that downed MH17, which bears a serial number indicating it was made in Moscow Credit: Robin van Lonkhuijsen/AFP/Getty Images The presence of the French leader as well as Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe at this year's event eases Russia's isolation and underscores the fractures appearing in the US-European coalition that adopted the sanctions. The French delegation was expected to sign about 20 contracts with Russian companies and state agencies, according to state television. Before they began their press conference, Mr Macron and Mr Putin oversaw the signing of cooperation agreements in the economic, cultural, medical and nuclear spheres. The French energy giant Total, which already owns 20 per cent of the Russian company Novatek's Yamal liquified natural gas terminal, also signed an agreement to invest in another gas-exporting project with the firm, Arctic LNG-2. While the benefits for Mr Putin of netting the French President for his economic forum are clear, the stakes may be higher for Mr Macron, whom critics say has been treading water of late on foreign affairs despite a string of high-profile appearances. Mr Macron's wife Brigitte received a bouquet from Mr Putin as the couple arrived at the Constantine Palace on Thursday Credit: Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Reuters The French president’s much-discussed meetings with his “friend” Mr Trump have yielded nothing tangible on key areas such as his American counterpart’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal. Relations have nosedived in recent years over crises in Ukraine and Syria, as well as accusations of meddling in foreign elections and the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain. Nonetheless, France remains the biggest international investor and the largest foreign employer in Russia, and Iran could provide an opportunity for rapprochement. Mr Macron appeared to be trying to soften up Mr Putin, whom he called “cher Vladimir” in his remarks, which went on far longer than those of his dour Russian counterpart. He thanked the Russian president for the invitation to visit his hometown St Petersburg and praised the heroism of the city's people during the Nazi blockade. In rhetoric that seemed taken from Mr Putin's own arguments against US hegemony, Mr Macron also called for a “multilateral approach to international relations” and said he would “not force my choice on other countries”. Macron's lengthy remarks are like a love letter to Russia, mentioning Putin's "home city," the blockade of Leningrad, Pushkin & Dostoyevsky, & even the important of a "multilateral approach to international relations" & "not forcing our choice on others". Putin looks bored pic.twitter.com/n3QNWKexHG— Alec Luhn (@ASLuhn) May 24, 2018 Although the two leaders echoed each other on the need to preserve the Iran deal and follow the Minsk agreements in Ukraine, the press conference also revealed points of tension in the relationship. While Mr Macron said he had raised the issue of Crimean director Oleg Sentsov, who has begun a hunger strike in a Siberian prison to demand the release of 64 Ukrainians jailed in Russia, Mr Putin repeated the dubious allegations that the director was planning terrorist attack. He argued the fate of a Russian state television reporter detained in Ukraine was a more pressing issue. Crimean director Oleg Sentsov, who has been declared a prisoner of conscience after he was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Russia on dubious charges Credit: AP Kiev has suggested Mr Sentsov and the Russian reporter could even be exchanged, but Moscow has yet to officially take up on this idea. Asked if he would attend the World Cup in Russia next month, the determinedly upbeat Mr Macron said he would come if France made it to the final. “Since I'm an optimist, I can say that I will be coming to support them, and then I can meet again with president Putin,” he said.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed defiance of the U.S. with a side order of American pop culture, invoking the cat-and-mouse adventures of Tom and Jerry. “The U.S. has tried various political, economic, military and propaganda undertakings to hit the Islamic Republic” throughout its four decades, the nation’s top religious leader told a gathering of officials on Wednesday. In the cartoon series created 78 years ago, the plucky mouse Jerry consistently outsmarted the larger cat Tom, although both did their best to torment each other.
The United States and European countries remain "a long way from a compromise" on a new Iran nuclear deal after the US's withdrawal from the 2015 agreement, Germany's foreign affairs minister said Wednesday. "We are still a long way from a compromise, we take two completely different paths," Heiko Maas told reporters after a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo on Monday presented a new US strategy on Iran following US President Donald Trump's controversial decision to pull out of the accord, signed in July 2015 by Iran along with China, the US, Britain, France, Russia and Germany.
Iran cannot "interact" with the United States as it is a country whose word cannot be trusted, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying on Wednesday. Because America is not committed to its promises," Press TV quoted him in English as saying. The conditions addressed every aspect of Iran's missile programme and what the US calls its "malign influence" across the region, including support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah and Huthi rebels in Yemen.
By Laila Bassam and Tom Perry BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Iran-backed Hezbollah aims to move beyond its traditional backseat role by assuming more influence in Lebanon's next government to help it counter an escalating U.S. campaign against Tehran and its regional ascendancy. A parliamentary majority for the Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah and its allies is expected to be reflected in a new coalition government that Western-backed Saad al-Hariri will now try to form, weakened by the loss of more than a third of his MPs. The May 6 election underlined how Lebanon's political landscape has tilted in Hezbollah's favor in recent years, and is part of a bigger picture of expanding Iranian influence that Washington wants to counter.
Russia's recent call for foreign forces to leave Syria was seen as a possible turning-point in its tricky alliance with Iran, though analysts say their partnership still has a long way to run. "With the start of the political process in its most active phase, foreign armed forces will withdraw from Syrian territory," President Vladimir Putin vowed after meeting his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Sochi on Friday. Putin's envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, later said this included Iran.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A semi-official Iranian news agency is reporting that truck drivers in four provinces in the country are on strike over low wages.
Iran appears to have restarted its long-range missile program at a secret desert facility, according to a report in The New York Times. A team of California-based weapons researchers believes it has stumbled across evidence of a secret facility operating in the remote Iranian desert. Researchers at the International Institute for Strategic Studies said work on the site is often carried out under cover of night and focuses on rocket engines and rocket fuel. They say their analysis of structures and ground markings at the facility strongly suggest that it's developing the technology for long-range missiles. “The investigation highlights some potentially disturbing developments,” said Michael Elleman,