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Rouhani Mocks US for Calling Emergency Meeting on Iran Nuclear Deal…which It Left

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called it a “sad irony” that an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting is being held at the behest of the US despite President Trump being the main contributor to the demise of the Iran deal.

The Board of Governors of the IAEA is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the current status of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) at the request of the US, which famously withdrew from the so-called ‘Iran Deal’ before introducing a raft of new sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation in 2018.

“On one side, Americans described the JCPOA as the worst possible deal and withdraw from it without any excuse and on the other side, when Iran reduces its commitments to the deal, they all express concern; while all should concern about US that has violated the whole deal,” Rouhani said during a Wednesday cabinet session as cited by the Mehr News agency.

“They have called for an emergency meeting of [the] Board of Governors, asking why Iran has abandoned some of its JCPOA commitments. This is a funny story that US is following and such measures are rare in the world’s political history,” Rouhani added.

The president also called out what he alleged was US hypocrisy over uranium enrichment when the US is the only country in history to have ever deployed nuclear weapons in an offensive capacity.

Iran has yet to withdraw fully from the agreement but has recently announced cuts to its commitments in response to new rafts of US sanctions imposed following the US withdrawal in 2018.

Rouhani said that Iran’s moves were within the framework of the deal and he rejected a warning from European parties to the pact to continue its full compliance. He called on other signatories of the deal to shield Iran from US sanctions while also issuing a stern warning to the UK over its seizure of an Iranian supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar last Thursday.

“I warn England that you are the initiator of insecurity in seas and you will later understand its repercussions,” Rouhani stated, adding that British forces had seized the vessel “unjustly,” claiming that the US had, in fact, seized the tanker “by proxy” through its ally.

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Court in Gibraltar Extends Iranian Tanker’s Detention for 30 Days

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A court in Gibraltar has extended the detention of an Iranian oil tanker for 30 days, AFP reported, citing Gibraltar’s attorney general. According to the agency, the order authorising the detention of the tanker can be extended for up to 90 days.

“We look forward to continuing to work constructively and positively with officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran to facilitate the release of the Grace 1 pursuant to the satisfaction of all legal requirements,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the territory’s parliament, as quoted by AFP.

On 4 July, the supertanker Grace 1 was detained off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicions of it carrying oil to Syria for refinement.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt discussed the issue earlier this week, with Mr Zarif urging London to release the tanker. He also stressed that Tehran would continue its oil exports under any circumstances. Mr Hunt, for his part, said that the Grace 1 would be released once Iran gives guarantees about its destination.

The tanker’s four crew members were freed on bail earlier this month after being questioned.

The situation in the Gulf has remained tense since the US tightened the sanctions it reimposed on the Iranian oil sector after quitting the 2015 nuclear deal.

A series of incidents, including attacks on oil tankers, took place in the Gulf of Oman in May and June. Washington has blamed the attacks on Tehran, but the latter has denied all the accusations.

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Russia in Confidential Consultations with the Netherlands on MH17 Crash

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Russia is having confidential consultations with the Netherlands on MH17 flight that was downed over Donbass in July 2014, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Friday.

“Such consultations are underway, but we agreed that the process will have a confidential character,” the diplomat said.

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Links Between Russia and EU’s Right-Wing Parties Cause for Concern, Says Merkel

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Relations between Moscow and EU’s right-wing political parties are a cause for concern, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday during a press conference in Berlin.

“Some questions arise here,” she stated. “We have constantly monitored the very strong support that right-leaning parties have received from Russia in one way or the other.” “This is a cause for concern,” Merkel stressed.

The German chancellor also mentioned the scandal regarding the alleged financing of Italy’s Lega party by Russia, noting that the Italian side must investigate the allegations in detail.

Milan’s prosecution launched a case based on the publications on the US BuzzFeed website and in the Italian L’Espresso weekly news magazine shedding light on the alleged financing Lega was receiving from Russia, qualifying the case as international corruption.

The main suspect in the case is one of the associates of Italy’s Deputy PM Matteo Salvini, head of th-e Lombardy-Russia Association Gianluca Savoini. According to the prosecution, his voice can be heard on the BuzzFeed published audio recording of an alleged conversation with Russian entrepreneurs with ties to the Kremlin, during which a possible oil supply contract was discussed. The party could have received the deal dividends amounting to $65 mln.

Both Salvini and Savoini have denied the allegations.

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