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Iran detains 10 US sailors

Gorkha Post



WASHINGTON — Iran has detained 10 mariners on board two small U.S. Naval force water crafts on Tuesday.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have detained theme when one of their boats apparently became disabled in the Persian Gulf.

The semi-official Iranian news agency FARS reported that Iranian Revolutionary Guards arrested 10 U.S. troops for trespassing in Iranian waters. Nine men and one woman were detained. The vessels carried three .50-caliber machine guns, the agency reported.

Pentagon authorities said the occurrence happened near Farsi Island in the Gulf. They said one of their two small boats had mechanical trouble, causing one or both to run aground. The sailors were then picked up by Iran and taken to the island. But it is unclear where they are now.

The boats were moving between Kuwait and Bahrain at the time, and the Pentagon briefly lost contact with the crews.

The U.S. is communicating with Iranian officials, who gave assurances of the sailors’ safety, the official said.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, who promised the two ships would be allowed to continue their voyage, likely at dawn Wednesday local time, according to a senior U.S. official.

The boats drifted into Iranian coastal waters in the vicinity of Farsi Island in the north Persian Gulf, apparently after one experienced mechanical problems and the other attempted to render aid. It was not clear how far into Iranian waters they traveled, but the move was unintentional, the senior official said.

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The incident could be a key test for Iran-U.S. relations following a nuclear deal in which the United States and other world powers agreed to lift international sanctions in return for Iran reducing its nuclear program.


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Britain, France and Germany propose new sanctions on Iran

Gorkha Post



BRUSSELS — Britain, France and Germany have proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles and its role in Syria’s war, according to a confidential document, in a bid to persuade Washington to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran,according to a document seen by the Reuters news agency.

On March 16, Reuters reported the move would be aimed at satisfying demands made by US President Donald Trump and keeping him ‘committed’ to the 2015 nuclear pact that Tehran signed with world powers and from which Trump has threatened to withdraw.

All 28 members must agree to any such sanctions,according to EU rules.

The document, citing specifically Iran’s ballistic-missile tests and its role in supporting Syria’s government in the seven-year-old civil war against Western-backed rebels, said, “We will…be circulating in the coming days a list of persons and entities that we believe should be targeted in view of their publicly demonstrated roles”.

The proposal is part of an EU strategy to save the accord signed by world powers that curbs Tehran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, namely by showing US.President Donald Trump that there are other ways to counter Iranian power abroad.

Trump delivered an ultimatum to the European signatories on Jan. 12. It said they must agree to ‘fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal’ which was sealed under his predecessor Barack Obama or he would refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief on Iran. US sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh ‘waivers’ to suspend them on May 12.

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The steps would go beyond what a U.S. State Department cable seen by Reuters last month outlined as a path to satisfy Trump: simply committing to improving the nuclear deal.

European Union foreign ministers will discuss the proposal at a closed-door meeting on Monday in Brussels, diplomats said.

Analysts say the nuclear agreement, touted at the time as a breakthrough reducing the risk of a devastating wider war in the Middle East, could collapse if Washington pulls out.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif struck a defiant note towards Washington on Friday.

“If the United States makes the mistake of pulling out of the JCPOA, it will definitely be a painful mistake for the Americans,” Iranian state television quoted Zarif as saying. The JCPOA is the formal name of the nuclear deal.

Zarif did not refer to the possibility of new EU sanctions.

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