‘Unacceptable’ to lump Iran together with ISIS as Middle East’s ‘chief security threat’ – Moscow

It’s wrong to label Iran as the main threat to the Middle East, Russia’s senior security official warned, while stressing that data produced by Washington is not enough to blame the Iranians for recent tanker attacks.

“Iran was and remains our ally and partner,” Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, said on Tuesday.

In that sense, any attempts to portray Tehran as the chief threat to regional security, let alone lump it together with ISIS and other terrorist organizations, are unacceptable to us.

The senior official made his remarks in Jerusalem following a meeting with President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, and his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat, both of whom clashed with the Russians over their views on Iran.

The US has been blaming Tehran for attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on June 13 (which Iran denies), and announced new sanctions in response to Iran downing a US drone they say violated their airspace last week.

Also on rt.com ‘Dialogue at gunpoint’: Bolton says Iran’s ‘silence’ is DEAFENING while it’s actually pretty vocal...

Bolton accused the Islamic Republic of a “round of violent provocations” abroad, including “threatening global oil supplies.” Iran is “a source of belligerence and aggression in the Middle East,” he said. The same stance was voiced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that Iran had “intensified” attacks on Tel Aviv and Washington.

As evidence of the alleged Iranian involvement in the attacks on the tanker, the Pentagon shared a grainy video of what it said were Iranian sailors removing a malfunctioning limpet mine from the ship’s hull. Nikolai Patrushev dismissed the footage as “low-grade information” that in itself “doesn’t allow for any decisions to be made.”

There must be an objective investigation, and not just pinning the blame on anybody, but actually figuring out what happened.

Moscow has long called for all sides to show restraint and have a level-headed approach to the conflict, without threats and sanctions. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the new round of restrictions by the US on Iran “sends a signal that the situation is moving towards a very bad scenario.”

Lavrov said that the current situation “reminds” him of early 2003, when the US tried to build a case for invading Iraq. Back then, Washington claimed that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, which was proven false post-invasion.

We all remember how that ended.

 

  • Published in World

European Union Agrees to Halt Trafficking of Migrants

Rome, Feb 3 (Prensa Latina) European Union (EU) member states agreed today in Malta on a set of collaborative actions with Libya and neighboring states to stop the trafficking of migrants through the Central Mediterranean.

The package of 10 measures was announced in a statement issued at the end of the first working session of the summit of Heads of State or Government of the regional organization.

The plan includes training, equipment and support for the Coast Guard and other Libyan agencies; additional measures to dismantle illegal trafficking of persons; and support - where possible - the development of local communities in the North African nation, especially in coastal and border areas linked to migration.

In addition, the plan includes working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to ensure adequate capacities and conditions for the reception of migrants in Libya, as well as to increase IOM support in voluntary repatriation activities.

Expansion of information campaigns targeting potential migrants in Libya and other countries of origin and transit; collaboration with Libya and neighboring nations to strengthen border controls; and the follow-up to alternative routes and possible variants of traffickers, are also part of the agreed measures.

The program also includes support for the efforts and initiatives of EU Member States, such as Italy, directly involved with the Tripoli authorities in strategies to deal with irregular migration flows, and the deepening of dialogue and cooperation on migration with all neighboring countries of the North African nation.

  • Published in World

Back in the Iraq Quagmire

America’s position in the Middle East is a shambles. That is due in part to forces and circumstances beyond its control. Mainly, though, it owes to the long series of  ill-judged actions that Washington has taken at its own volition.

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