Trump Admin Preparing to Kill Iran Nuclear Deal If Europeans Refuse to Fix Agreement

Donald Trump

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Insiders worry Trump admin will cave to Europeans

The Trump administration is laying the groundwork to abandon the landmark nuclear deal with Iran if European allies fail to fix the agreement and close key loopholes that have allowed the Islamic Republic to continue sensitive nuclear research and develop advanced ballistic missiles, according to senior administration officials and top lawmakers who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about sensitive ongoing diplomatic talks.

Senior Trump administration officials have been pressuring European allies to agree to a range of fixes to the nuclear deal that would address Iran’s military intervention across the Middle East, as well as its ongoing efforts to develop advanced ballistic missile technology that could be used to carry a nuclear weapon. Continue reading

Official warns Iran will withdraw from nuclear deal if ‘no economic benefit’

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi / YJC

 

Iran has threatened to withdraw from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers if there is no economic benefit from it and major banks continue to fail to do business with Tehran. Continue reading

Get real: U.S. commander in Korea says Kim in hot pursuit of unified communist nation

Adm. Harry Harris. / AP

 

Kim Jong-Un has put on a charm offensive at the Winter Games while extracting money from South Korea under the guise of reunification, the leader of U.S. Pacific Command said.

But the North Korean leader’s goal goes beyond preventing regime change, he said. Rather, he is focused on the ultimate goal of a “single, communist system” on the Korean Peninsula.

Adm. Harry Harris told the House Armed Services Committee on Feb. 14 that he does not agree with the prevailing view that Kim is building a nuclear arsenal to safeguard his regime only. Continue reading

Report: China Moves 300,000 Troops Closer to North Korean Border

VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images

 

China is reportedly moving missile defense batteries and troops closer to its border with North Korea, a potential sign that Beijing anticipates either a large refugee wave north or a military disturbance triggered by the belligerence of communist dictator Kim Jong-un.

The South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo cited Radio Free Asia (RFA) in a report Monday, stating that RFA had compiled evidence that China had “late last year deployed another missile defense battery at an armored division in Helong, west of Longjing in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.”

The “North Korean source in China” speaking to RFA also noted that Pyongyang had observed the movement of 300,000 troops closer to the North Korean border and “missile defense batteries near North Korean reservoirs by the Apnok and Duman rivers.” The batteries would prevent the violent outpouring of those reservoirs into China in the event of an airstrike. Continue reading

North Korea Is Proof That More Sanctions on Iran Won’t Work

sanctions on Iran

 

President Donald Trump’s expected “de-certification” of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal today is rooted in the belief that sanctions on Iran are the only cure to halting the Middle Eastern nation’s weapons program.

A White House statement released yesterday supports this sentiment as well:

“We will work to deny the Iranian regime – and especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – funding for its malign activities, and oppose IRGC activities that extort the wealth of the Iranian people. We will counter threats to the United States and our allies from ballistic missiles and other asymmetric weapons.”

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South Korea Warns Trump Only It Can Declare War On North

 

A day after US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford promised him that the US would exhaust all diplomatic options, including another round of UN sanctions, before resorting to a “military solution” in its simmering conflict with North Korea, South Korean President Moon Jae-in reminded Washington during a forceful Tuesday speech that the US would need to seek, and receive, South Korea’s consent before risking another armed conflict on the Korean peninsula, signaling his country will no longer stay quiet as tensions escalate with its northern neighbor.

As Bloomberg summarizes, “Moon asserted the right to veto any military action against Kim Jong Un’s regime, saying that decision should be made by “ourselves and not by anyone else.” He vowed to prevent war at any cost – a statement that drew a sharp contrast with President Donald Trump, who has warned of “fire and fury” if North Korea continues to threaten the U.S.” Continue reading

Russia Eyes Rapid Middle East Energy Expansion

Graph 1. Russian Participation within the framework of the Iran Petroleum Contract.

 

Having battled through the travails of an ever-tightening sanctions regime and a prolonged economic downturn, which in most cases led to a freezing up or lowering of expenditures and the adoption of a very risk-averse investment strategy, Russian companies are now destined to embark upon a new expansion, this time in the Middle East. With the recently imposed U.S. sanctions further impacting Russia’s ability to form partnerships with Western majors, Iran, Iraq and possibly even Syria will become the new hub of Russian oil-related investments. Immensely rich in oil, yet lacking the funds necessary to exploit it, virtually unsanctionable for any potential cooperation with Russian companies (even sanctions vis-à-vis Iraq are implausible given the ongoing fight against the Islamic State) and brought ever closer together politically on the back of recent developments in the region, the Middle East-Russia axis is bound to get stronger with time. Continue reading

Russia To Cut Dependence On U.S. Dollar, Payment Systems

 

Quoted by Reuters, Ryabkov said that “we will of course intensify work related to import substitution, reduction of dependence on U.S. payment systems, on the dollar as a settling currency and so on. It is becoming a vital need.” The reason for that is that “the US is using its dominating role in the monetary and financial system to impose pressure on foreign business, including Russian companies.”

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Trump administration ‘not playing around’ on North Korea

U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley praised new sanctions against North Korea as a sign that the international community is seriously addressing the threat of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

“It is time for North Korea to realize, we are not playing anymore,” Haley said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.”

The sanctions largely target North Korea’s major exports such as coal, iron and seafood, Haley said. Continue reading

EU prepares to unleash ‘NUCLEAR OPTION’ on Hungary: Brussels loses patience with Orban

EU Hungary

The EU is considering removing Hungary’s voting rights [GETTY]

 

THE EUROPEAN UNION is considering the extraordinary step of stripping Hungary of its voting rights in Brussels following a “serious deterioration” in the country’s stance with the bloc.

MEPs last night voted heavily in favour of taking sanctions against the state for a “serious and persistent” breach in EU values including accepting migration quotas.

These sanctions could involve reducing voting rights for EU diplomats, known around Brussels as the “nuclear option”.  Continue reading

EU Gearing up for Sanctions on Hungary

Ikars / Shutterstock.com

 

Escalating tensions within the bloc.

It would be an extraordinary move. Brussels has long targeted hugely popular Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who has been steadfast in strengthening Hungary’s borders and recently re-asserted the right of nation states to determine their own futures rather than the European Union. Continue reading

The Sanctions Debate

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – In the prelude to Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Russia, German business associations and foreign policy experts are urging that the policy of sanctions be ended. They argue that sanctions practically have become ineffective, since Russia’s economy has withstood these trade restrictions and is now even recovering. The boycott has also damaged the EU’s image and that of the USA in Russia and, even though intended to weaken, it has helped to stabilize the Russian government. Moreover, Russian orders, that German businesses had once expected, were increasingly going to competitors, for example in China – and are ultimately lost. However, German economists still see Russia as a lucrative market. According to an analysis by the Bertelsmann Foundation and Munich’s ifo Institute, a free-trade agreement between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), congregated around Russia, would generate a growth of 45 billion euros. Government advisors recommend that the sanctions policy be gradually ended. This would not eliminate the prospect that Moscow, at any time, could be forced to its knees with an arms race. Continue reading

Report: Hezbollah-Linked Company Exporting Millions to U.S. Despite Sanctions

Hezbollah fighters hold their party flags / AP

 

Hezbollah financiers circumvent sanctions to export Congolese lumber to U.S., Europe

A new report says that an African lumber company owned by major financiers of the Hezbollah terror group has circumvented sanctions and managed to export millions of dollars worth of timber to U.S. companies.

The investigation by Global Witness, a D.C.-based group that aims to uncover global corruption, focused on an African-based company called Congo Futur, which was targeted by sanctions from the U.S. Treasury Department because the Tajideen family, which gives millions of dollars to Hezbollah, owns it. Continue reading

Kremlin Warns Of Response To Latest US Sanctions, Says “Almost All Communication With US Is Frozen”

In response to the latest imposition of US sanctions on Russia, the Kremlin said on Wednesday that the new sanctions would further damage relations between the two countries and that Moscow would respond with its own measures. “We regret that Washington is continuing on this destructive path,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

As a reminder, on Tuesday the United States widened sanctions against Russian businessmen and companies adopted after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the conflict in Ukraine.

“We believe this damages bilateral relations … Russia will take commensurate measures.” Continue reading

The EU as Soviet lite: I’ve seen this movie before and it does not end well

After the Brexit and recent attacks against migrants in Britain I can’t get rid of the deja vu feeling. I’ve already watched this movie, a quarter century ago. I know how its ends.

In summer of 1989, the Lithuanian Sejm decided to withdraw from the Soviet Union and establish Lithuanian laws in the country. It was the beginning of the end for USSR — a giant corrupt monster, which for 70 years had bullied the world and its people under the pretense of communist ideology.

Intimidation and sanctions could not prevent the collapse. The fabricated artificial entity, thoroughly impregnated with falsehood and lies, fell apart like a house of cards. Continue reading