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Iran’s Rouhani: Trump ‘Failed to Undermine Nuclear Deal’

Sun, 01/14/2018 - 13:01
Iran’s president said Sunday the United States had failed to undermine a nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers, and hailed the accord as a “long-lasting victory” for Iran, state television reported. U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday delivered an ultimatum to European signatories of the deal to fix the “terrible flaws” of the agreement with Iran, or the United States would pull out. “The American administration has failed to undermine the nuclear deal ... Trump, despite his...
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Saudi Billionaire Prince Negotiating Deal for His Release

Sun, 01/14/2018 - 12:51
Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, detained for more than two months in an anti-corruption crackdown, is negotiating a possible settlement with authorities but so far has not agreed on terms, a senior Saudi official said. Prince Alwaleed, whose net worth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at $17 billion, is chairman and owner of international investment firm Kingdom Holding, and one of the country’s most prominent businessmen. “He offered a certain figure but it...
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Iraq’s Current, Former Prime Ministers Running in May Elections

Sun, 01/14/2018 - 08:20
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Sunday his candidacy for the May 12 parliamentary elections to choose a prime minister. Abadi, a Shiite Muslim who led the country in the four-year war against Islamic State, said he will seek to form a cross-sectarian block called ‘‘the victory alliance’’ to contest the parliamentary elections, with candidates from other communities. Abadi took over the premiership in 2014 from Nuri al-Maliki, a close ally of Iran widely criticized by...
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Iran Lifts Restrictions on Messaging App Telegram

Sun, 01/14/2018 - 06:27
Iran has lifted restrictions on the messaging app Telegram, the state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday. The popular service had been blocked during recent public protests, the most serious nationwide unrest in the Islamic republic since 2009. "An informed source announced that the filtering of the Telegram messenger has been ended and it is being used by users," IRNA reported.  The AP news agency said it had spoken with residents in several cities, including...
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UN Urges Saudi Arabia to Keep Yemen’s Sea Ports Open for Critical Aid

Sat, 01/13/2018 - 17:25
The United Nations is calling for the permanent re-opening of all of Yemen’s sea ports to allow vital, life-saving humanitarian and commercial cargo to enter. The Saudi-led coalition partially lifted its blockade of Yemen’s sea ports on December 20.  Since then, the U.N. reports 13 vessels have delivered food and much needed fuel to the war-torn country through the Red Sea ports of Hudaydah and Saleef.   The U.N. welcomes this as a constructive step.  But, the spokesman...
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UN: Three-quarters of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Live Below Poverty Line

Sat, 01/13/2018 - 16:41
A survey by three leading U.N. agencies - the U.N. refugee agency, U.N. Children’s Fund and World Food Program - finds that more than three-quarters of the more than 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon are living below the poverty line of less than $4 per day. After nearly seven years of war, the U.N. survey finds Syrian refugees in Lebanon are poorer and finding it ever more difficult to make ends meet. It also shows refugee households on average spend $98 per person per month. Nearly...
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Saudi Binladin Group Denies Takeover by Government

Sat, 01/13/2018 - 15:23
A Saudi Arabian construction giant says it "remains a private sector company," but admits that "some of the shareholders may have agreed to a settlement," allowing for the transfer of some shares to the government "against outstanding debts." The Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) said in a statement that it sees the move as a "positive step." SBG Chairman Bakr Bin Laden has been detained in Saudi Arabia's crackdown on corruption.  Dozens of...
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Unpacking What Remains of Iran Sanctions

Sat, 01/13/2018 - 13:50
On Friday, President Donald Trump waived economic sanctions on Iran, the third time he’s issued a sanctions waiver under a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers. The agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, restricted Iran’s controversial nuclear program in exchange for broad relief from international sanctions. While the United States, the United Nations and the European Union have lifted most nuclear-related sanctions, unilaterally imposed U.S....
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Iran to Trump: No Changes to Nuclear Deal

Sat, 01/13/2018 - 13:15
Iran has warned Washington the nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers “is not renegotiable.” The foreign ministry said in a statement that Iran “will not accept any change in the deal, neither now nor in the future” and it will “not take any action beyond its commitments.” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement Friday that he is willing to approve new sanctions on Iran is a “desperate attempt to undermine a solid...
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Trump Waives Iran Sanctions, Says It's the Last Time

Sat, 01/13/2018 - 08:49
The White House on Friday decided to continue to waive sanctions on Iran that targeted its nuclear weapons program, preserving the 2015 deal between Tehran and six world powers. But Trump administration officials warn this is the last waiver the U.S. will issue. That means Washington could leave the deal within months, reports VOA's Bill Gallo.
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First Saudi Stadium Opens to Women to Watch Soccer

Sat, 01/13/2018 - 07:31
Saudi women were allowed into a sports stadium for the first time Friday to watch a soccer match between two local teams, though they were segregated in the stands from the male-only crowd with designated seating in the so-called “family section.” The move was the first of Saudi Arabia’s social reforms planned for this year to ease restrictions on women, spearheaded by the kingdom’s 32-year-old crown prince. The kingdom has also announced that starting in June, women will be allowed to...
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Top-ranking Iranian-American Official 'Heartened' by Iran Protests

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 22:15
The Trump administration's highest-ranking Iranian-American, who serves as its top antitrust regulator, has welcomed recent anti-government protests in Iran as a "heartening" development. In an interview with VOA Persian this month, Makan Delrahim described the weeklong anti-government protest movement as a "natural progression" for Iranian people, whom he said desire freedoms that have been denied to them by "oppressive" Islamist clerics who have ruled...
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Trump Waives Iran Nuclear Sanctions for Last Time

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 21:49
United States President Donald Trump approved new sanctions on Iran Friday, while stopping short for a third time of re-imposing harsh sanctions intended to push Tehran to give up nuclear weapons research. Trump said he was waiving the nuclear sanctions for the last time in order to give Congress and European allies 120 days to improve the agreement or face U.S. abandonment of the pact. The president's proposals to "fix the deal's disastrous flaws" include Iran's...
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Arrests Grow as Tunisian Army Cracks Down on Protesters

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 20:25
The United Nations human rights office says it is concerned about the large number of arrests as Tunisian authorities crack down on protesters demonstrating against price and tax. The protests, which began last weekend, reportedly are turning more violent, prompting a sharp rise in the number of arrests. Nearly 800 people have been arrested since Monday, about 200 between the ages of 15 and 20, according to U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville. WATCH: Protests Erupt Again in...
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Turkey: Offensive in Syria's Idlib Will Cause New Migration Wave

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 17:24
Increased attacks in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province will spark a new wave of migration, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday, calling on Russia and Iran to rein in a Syrian army offensive near Turkey's southern border. The Syrian government offensive supported by Iran-backed militia has gathered pace and displaced tens of thousands of people since November, according to the United Nations. Turkey, which opposes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but has been...
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Saudis Open Car Showroom Just for Women

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 05:19
Women flocked to Le Mall in Jeddah on Thursday to check out the kingdom’s first car exhibition aimed at women, a few months after Saudi Arabia granted them the right to drive. Pink, orange and yellow balloons hung in the mall’s showroom as women posed for photos and selfies in front of the cars. One woman in the driver’s seat fixed her face cover. Another wrapped her turquoise-painted fingernails around the steering wheel, feeling it out. Progressive era In a decree issued in...
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Yazidi Children Rescued From IS Getting Psychological Help

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 04:23
Dozens of Yazidi children who have been rescued from the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria are now receiving counseling to cope with and recover from the trauma they experienced during their years in captivity. At Qadiya refugee camp near the Iraqi Kurdistan Region's northern city of Duhok, more than 100 Yazidi boys and girls aged between 4 and 13, who were kidnapped by IS in August 2014, are getting assistance to recover from the psychological harm they sustained under IS...
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Trump Poised to Increase Sanctions on Iran

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 01:41
U.S. President Donald Trump will increase sanctions on Iran in the coming hours, while again stopping short of reimposing sanctions intended to push the Tehran regime to give up nuclear weapons research, according to multiple news agency reports. The president was meeting with his national security team on the Iran question late Thursday. By law, the administration must certify every 90 days whether Iran is complying with a 2015 agreement it signed with the international community to...
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US Creates New Team to Probe Hezbollah Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 21:09
The U.S. Department of Justice has assembled a team of prosecutors to investigate allegations of drug trafficking and money laundering by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah. The allegations were reportedly not pursued by the previous administration because of Iranian sensitivities. The new Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team of federal prosecutors will examine all cases stemming from Project Cassandra, an Obama-era Drug Enforcement Administration task force that targeted...
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Tunisian Leaders Trade Blame, Amid Ongoing Wave of Violence

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 19:34
Sporadic protests continued across parts of Tunisia, overnight, as government security forces tried to put a stop to scattered violence that has hit a number of regions. Tunisian government security forces used teargas to quell violence across the country, amid scattered protests that erupted last week following price increases imposed by the government. The Interior Ministry reported that several hundred people were arrested during the past 24 hours. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed,...
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