Cuba slams U.S. withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

Cuba on Wednesday condemned the withdrawal of the United States from a nuclear agreement with Iran.

Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its "profound rejection of the decision of the United States government to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Nuclear Agreement with Iran and to reimpose sanctions on that country."

The statement added, "The failure to comply with these international commitments violates the rules of coexistence between states and can have serious consequences for the stability and security of the Middle East."

Cuba's government said it was opposed to the application of unilateral coercive economic measures against any country and said it recognized the legitimate right of every country to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Cuba also called on the United Nations Security Council to fulfill its responsibility to preserve international peace and security, and demanded the fulfillment of UN resolution 2231 on the Iranian nuclear issue, which was unanimously approved by the council.

Despite opposition from the other signatories and Democratic members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that the United States will withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, a landmark agreement signed in 2015 between Iran and six major powers.

Cuba and Iran established diplomatic ties in 1975. A year later the then-government decided to break them, but they were restored in 1979, after the victory of the Islamic Revolution.

Tehran and Havana maintain cooperation agreements in agriculture, education, engineering, biotechnology and other areas.

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If US scraps Iranian nuclear deal, it ‘could mean war’ – French President Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that the US pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran “could mean war.” Trump has until May 12 to either re-certify the deal or dump it, as he has repeatedly threatened.

Scrapping the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran “would mean opening Pandora’s box, it could mean war,” according to an undated quote from Macron provided in the latest Der Spiegel magazine edition. 

However, the worst-case scenario may not in fact materialize, as the French leader said he does not believe that US President Donald Trump is really seeking a military conflict.

 
Pro-government demonstrators wave their national flag during a march in the Iranian city of Qom on January 3, 2018. © Mohammad Ali Marizad

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), branding it the “worst deal ever” and urging parties to “fix” it. Following the recent visit of Macron to the US, Trump boasted that he changed the French President’s stance on the deal, stating that “he is viewing Iran a lot differently than he did before he walked into the Oval Office.”

While France, the UK and Germany, the European signatories to the deal, who had firmly opposed Trump’s attempts to “fix” it, did not join Trump’s drive against it, they seemingly have amended their position. They now want to address “important elements that the deal does not cover,” including Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as its activities in the region.

Tehran, however, maintains that the 2015 agreement is not subject to re-negotiation, as it fully adheres to it. Iran’s compliance with the terms of the deal, which obliged the country to drastically curb its nuclear activities, has been repeatedly confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors the JCPOA’s implementation. Trump however, argued, that Tehran somehow violated “the spirit” of the deal.

As the deadline for Donald Trump to recertify the deal or withdraw from it approaches (it’s set for May 12), the situation around the JCPOA gets more and more heated. Earlier this week, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu presented a large batch of materials, said to be documents on the Iranian nuclear program, acquired by the country’s intelligence.

READ MORE: ‘Bullying others’: Iranian FM slams US over its handling of nuclear deal

Netanyahu claimed that the documents proved that Tehran has preserved a military nuclear program within the confines of the JCPOA. The premier summarized the intelligence findings as “Iran lied, big time.” Tehran firmly rejected the allegations, calling Netanyahu himself a “broke and infamous liar.”

On Sunday, Iran once again warned the US against breaking the nuclear deal, with President Hassan Rouhani saying that “if the United States leaves the nuclear agreement, you will soon see that they will regret it like never before in history.”

 

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Syria: U.S. increases support for terrorists

The latest chemical attack against civilians has once again served as a new pretext for U.S. to justify a greater intervention against the Arab country, without resigning itself to the continued defeats of the terrorist groups it has armed, trained and organized, and whose greatest percent is made up by contractors, as many elegantly call these mercenaries, and Islamic fundamentalist individuals who give their lives ignoring the manipulation they have been subjected to by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The entire anti-Syrian plot, and eventually anti-Russian, is seasoned with a funding that increases, despite the defeat and withdrawal of many of the aggressors, and having received extensive supplying of US, British and Israeli weapons, including chemical ones, which have been generously paid by the satraps of the Persian Gulf, and Arab League members, which are Arab by their name, rather than by their spirit, as has shown their hypocritical and empty support to the Palestinian people so far.

The United States does not resign itself to the defeat of its protégées at the hands of the Syrian army and the solidarity intervention of the Russian air force, which only participates in actions in rural areas, not in the cities, geared at avoiding what usually happens to the Empire’s army, “collateral damage”.

In this context, the CIA, of a long record of support to terrorists and mercenaries, used once again, as we have stated, the pretext of the chemical attacks, carried out by its hosts, with the support of the US mainstream press, after which the missiles launched by US troops targeted a Syrian airbase in the province of Homs, amid the rhetoric of the Trump Administration telling that preps are underway to intensify their military operations in Syria.

Like in previous episodes of chemical attack charges, the public is being overwhelmed with unverified recordings of agonizing victims, as official reports and corporate press, before any probe and groundless; hold the government of Bashar al Assad and its Iranian and Russian allies responsible of a war crime.

In a matter of minutes, The New York Times and The Washington Post posted articles pinning the blame on the Syrian and Russian governments for the alleged attack. For its part, British newspaper The Guardian declared in an editorial that, “the renewed use of chemical weapons by Syria against its own people over the weekend is shameless and barbaric”.

All this farce takes place shortly after a very painful event for the Empire: because after having used the region of eastern Ghouta for years to cut off supplies to Damascus and to attack unfriendly embassies, such as Russia’s, the Syrian army forced the opposition groups, mainly armed by Israel, to withdraw to other remote spots, but they previously evacuated the hundreds of thousands of locals held hostage by the aggressors.

It’s worth adding that Trump is already devising plans to attack the Syrian army with missiles there, as part of the chemical pretext, unlike what his predecessor, Barack Obama, did in a similar event, also plotted by the CIA, since he did not want to bombard Ghouta in 2013, which earned him furious criticisms until the day he left the White House.

The investigations that have been conducted since then prove that the attack was actually perpetrated by the “rebels” at the service of the U.S., together with the Turkish government that openly supported the aggression against Damascus at that time.

In April 2017, an alleged gas attack was used to justify a significant bombardment with cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield. Similarly, it turned out to be an airstrike targeting facilities used by the “opponents” to collect poisonous gases.

But with Trump, I stress, the hawks that control the cabinet have no problems, and with the head of the National Security  Agency, John Bolton, they should be considering to carry out new actions at the expense of the blood of the Syrian people.

For the moment, as it is actually happening in Iraq, the Empire does not have its hands free for other terrorist actions, such as the immolation of fundamentalist individuals deceived by their own CIA-hired chiefs, not aimed at primarily occupying cities or territories, but at sowing chaos, destruction and uncertainty among citizens.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

 

Ex-Black Panther Released From Prison After 45 Years

Bell was released on Friday after a judge rejected a petition from a police union organization to have his patrol blocked.

Former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army Herman Bell was released from a prison, in upstate New York, after spending 45 years being incarcerated.

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Bell's support group release the following statement upon his release: “We hope that Herman's release will be a source of inspiration for more changes. Herman feels very honored and grateful for all the expressions of trust and support, but out of respect for the feelings of the relatives of the victims, he will not make public statements. We welcome you.”

Bell was released on Friday after a judge rejected a petition from a police union organization, Benevolent Patrol Association, to have his patrol blocked. The ex-activist has mentored thousands of young people during his time in prison and has a record of excellent behavior.

After the decision was made to release the former Black Panther, the New York State Supreme Court was charged to dismiss a lawsuit to stop the action, qualifying that the parole board “did not act irrationally or outside its bounds.”

A police spokesperson told The Intercept that the decision would be appealed.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was among those who wrote to the parole board to urge the commissioners to not release Bell. But weeks before Bell's release, CBS New York ran a public poll on support for the parole board’s decision and ended up with 86 percent of the over 6,000 participants being in favor of the release.

The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, some 160 advocacy groups and organizations as well as the son of one of the slain officer.

The officer's son wrote to the parole board in support of Bell’s freedom and condemned the “media-fueled hysteria” surrounding his release.

Bell was sentenced to 25 years and life in prison for killing two New York City police officers in 1971.

  • Published in World

Russia: Trump promised to make visit to Moscow if Putin accepts invite to White House

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that President Trump indicated he could visit Moscow if Russian leader Vladimir Putin comes to the United States.

Lavrov told state television that Trump mentioned the possible trip when he called Putin on March 20 to congratulate him on his re-election to another six years in office.

State-run news agency RIA Novosti, citing the foreign ministry, said Trump invited Putin to Washington and said he would be glad to see his Russian counterpart in the White House.

Lavrov, who met with Trump in Washington in May, said Russia was expecting Trump to formalize the invitation, RIA Novosti reported. 

“We proceed from the fact that the U.S. president in a telephone conversation ... made such an invitation, said he would be glad to see (Putin) in the White House, would then be glad to meet on a reciprocal visit,” Lavrov said in comments posted on the foreign ministry's website.

“He returned to this topic a couple of times, so we let our American colleagues know that we do not want to impose, but we also do not want to be impolite, and that considering that President Trump made this proposal, we proceed from the position that he will make it concrete.”

Both the White House and the Kremlin previously revealed that Trump had invited Putin to the White House during the same call, when the two leaders discussed wanting to meet soon.

A visit by Putin to Washington would anger Trump's critics, amid special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible links between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russians who sought to influence the election by hacking emails and spreading fake news.

Trump has repeatedly said his campaign did not collude with Russia to gain advantage in the election. Lavrov has dismissed the meddling allegations as a baseless "claptrap."

Trump met face-to-face with Putin for the first time at the Group of 20 summit of world leaders in Hamburg, Germany, in July. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

More: Trump won't say whether he would fire Mueller, but notes that he's 'still here'

More: Russia: 'Unscrupulous' U.S. behavior destabilizes world

More: Lavrov rejects as 'claptrap' charges of Russian election meddling

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Skripals poisoning ‘highly likely’ staged by British intelligence – Russian Foreign Ministry

The UK’s behavior after the Skripal incident suggests that the attack was organized by the British spy agencies or was at least beneficial for them, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.

“It was highly likely that the false-flag incident with the poisoning of the Russian citizens in Salisbury was beneficial for, or perhaps organized by, the British intelligence services in order to mar Russia and its political leadership,” Zakharova told a news conference in Moscow on Thursday, markedly using the same phrase regarding probability as London officials and their allies.

 
A destroyed street in Douma in Eastern Ghouta on April 16, 2018 © Louai Beshara

Such a false-flag operation would perfectly fit into the “general Russophobe course of the [UK] Conservative government to demonize our country,” the spokeswoman stated, adding that the UK has “frequently committed such acts in the past.”

The “National Defense Strategy of the UK and the banquet speech of PM Theresa May at the end of last year,” also contribute to such version of events, according to Zakharova. The document and May’s speech have clearly envisioned “countering Russia” as one of the main priorities for the UK.

London’s actions in the aftermath of the attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4 in the town of Sailsbury have raised many questions in Moscow. Russia says the UK did everything possible to disrupt the investigation and conceal facts, while squarely pinning the blame on Moscow. Russia has vehemently denied the allegations and repeatedly urged the UK to show some proof, or at least make information on the incident publicly available.

“The firm refusal to cooperate with Russia on the Salisbury poisoning investigation, London’s violations of the consular convention, reluctance to cooperate with the OPCW and concealment of the basic data to conduct a transparent investigation are the shining proofs of that,” Zakharova concluded.

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‘Julian Assange could die in Ecuadorian embassy’ – Pamela Anderson

Anderson appeared on Tuesday’s installment of ‘Good Morning Britain,’ hosted by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid. Having complemented the former Playboy model on her looks, and asked her if she had dressed up for his benefit, Morgan got down to more serious matters.

“He’s awful. It’s terrible,” said Anderson when asked how her friend Assange was doing. “They’ve cut off internet access. He’s a political prisoner in the heart of London. It’s very surprising. Cut off from everybody.”

Asked if she “feared he was going to die in there,” Anderson replied: “He could. He’s human and I don’t know who could tolerate this, he’s a political prisoner and he’s a hero so we need to support him.”

Anderson confirmed she can no longer communicate with the man for whom she has previously expressed her love. “No, nobody can visit him right now. His lawyers possibly.” Anderson went on to say that she had visited him every time she was London up to now but that is no longer possible and she is very concerned about his health.

“I’m very, very, very, concerned, deeply concerned for him. He’s one of the most important people on the planet right now,” she said. “He’s exposing all of these war crimes and truths and we really need him at this moment. And it’s not a coincidence that he is being silenced at this time.”

Anderson believes it’s possible her relationship with Assange is being investigated. “Probably, gosh, I wouldn’t be surprised,” the Canadian address admitted before reiterating her concerns for Assange and calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to do something.

“The UK is being so stupid they have to make a decision, they keep on passing the buck no-one wants to take responsibility and they want to extradite him to the US, 100 percent, and that would be life in prison or worse,” Anderson continued.

“There’s so much going on in the world right now, I want to know what he’s thinking.”

Anderson went on to say that Assange is being “abused” and that it’s a human rights issue.

When Reid suggested that many people feel Assange should face “justice,” Anderson replied: “For what? Telling the truth and exposing war crimes. He’s not the culprit, just the messenger. You should know you’re journalists, it’s the same thing.”

  • Published in World

In US 6,300 People Evicted Every Day, Mainly Blacks: Report

One of the main findings of the newly launched project is the deep racial undertone behind a vast majority of these evictions. 

In the United States, 6,300 people are evicted every day, according to a new, one of its kind project called the Eviction Lab

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The project launched by Princeton University sheds light on U.S.'s eviction and housing crisis, as it sifted through nearly 80 million evictions going back to 2000. The lab found that in 2016 alone, there were nearly four evictions filed every minute. 

One of the main findings of the newly launched lab is the deep racial undertone behind a vast majority of these evictions. 

Matthew Desmond, professor of sociology who runs the project at Princeton University, told Democracy Now, "The legacy of racial discrimination in America is deeply connected to the eviction crisis. One of our big findings for the data that we’ve just released is the concentration of evictions in the Southeast, especially in counties that have large numbers of African Americans in them. 

"And I think that this is deeply connected to our legacies of systematically dispossessing African Americans from the land, which is a history that goes from slavery all the way up to the recent subprime crisis." 

Eviction Lab, which is the country's first nationwide database on evictions, also indicated that the evictions could lead to poor health, depression, job loss and a lost chance to find decent housing in the future.  

"Families lose not only their homes, but children often lose their schools. You often lose your things, which are piled on the sidewalk or taken by movers. And eviction comes with an official mark or a blemish, and that can prevent you from moving into safe housing in a good neighborhood. It can also prevent you from moving into public housing," Desmond argued.  

"And then there’s health effects, like depression. We have a study that shows that moms who get evicted experience high rates of depression two years later."

According to Eviction lab findings, cities like North Charleston and Richmond faced the highest number of evictions in 2016, per the latest extensive database available.

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"This is not just a problem that’s in New York or San Francisco or Boston—cities we often talk about as being hotbeds of the affordable housing crisis. If you go to Wilmington, Delaware, one in 13 renter families are evicted every year. If you go to Tucson, Arizona, or Tulsa, Oklahoma, Albuquerque, New Mexico, you see very high eviction rates," Desmond said, according to Democracy Now. 

In some eviction cases recorded in recent years, the tenants said they weren't sure who was evicting them, which Desmond concluded was maybe because the property was "flipping hands very quickly and maybe being consolidated in fewer hands in some cities." 

"I’d ask a tenant, “You know, what’s happening? What brought you to this situation?” And their answers were very confused. They’d say, “Well, I got a letter from this company, and I sent my check there. They sent it back. They said my property is owned by another property," Desmond informed. 

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