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Address us with respect not threats of war – Iran warns US

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Address us with respect not threats of war - Iran warns US

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Iran, on Monday, warned the U.S. against addressing the Islamic Republic of Iran with disrespect and threats of war.

This warning comes a day after U.S. President Donald Trump stoked concerns about a potential U.S.-Iran conflict.

But in a sign of brewing confrontation a year after Washington quit world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions on it, Tehran announced a fourfold increase in its rate of low-grade uranium enrichment, NAN reports.

Tensions between Washington and its Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab allies on one side and Tehran and its Shi’ite Muslim proxies in the region on the other have been flaring for weeks.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the U.S. again!”

Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Zarif replied on his Twitter account “Never Threaten An Iranian. Try respect—it works!”

Zarif, who was educated in the U.S. actually praised Trump for earlier remarks seen as cautioning hawks in his administration, who were encouraging conflict.

The President “rightly deplores ‘military-industrial complex’ pushing U.S. #ForeverWars,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

But he said Trump had allowed a “B-team” of aides led by National Security Advisor John Bolton to “trash diplomacy”.

He accused them of “milking despotic butchers via massive arms sales”, an apparent reference to Iran’s main regional foe, Saudi Arabia, Washington’s biggest arms buyer.

Trump has tightened economic sanctions against Iran, and his administration says it has built up the U.S. military presence in the region.

It accuses Iran of posing threats to U.S. troops and interests. Tehran has denied this, describing U.S. moves as “psychological warfare” and a “political game”.

Britain told Iran on Monday not to underestimate the resolve of the U.S., warning that if American interests were attacked then the Trump administration would retaliate.

The foreign minister of Oman, a Gulf Arab state that in the past helped pave the way for negotiations between Iran and the U.S., visited Tehran on Monday.

Yousuf bin Abdullah addressed regional and international issues with Zarif, Iranian state news agency IRNA said, without elaborating.

Quoting an official at the Natanz enrichment plant, the semi-official Tasnim said Iran was accelerating the rate at which it refines uranium to 3.67 per cent fissile purity, suitable for civilian nuclear power generation.

The move came two weeks after Iran, acting after Trump reimposed sanctions aimed at blocking all Iranian oil exports to cripple its economy, declared it would scale back some commitments under the accord it signed with six world powers.

Under the 2015 deal, the Islamic Republic was allowed to stockpile a maximum of 300 kg of low-enriched uranium, and ship any excess out of the country for storage or sale.

Iran said this month that cap no longer applied in response to the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the deal.

Trump has condemned the accord, signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, as flawed for not being permanent and for not covering Iran’s ballistic missile programme and role in conflicts around the Middle East.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, told Tasnim that the UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), had been notified about the move to step up the enrichment rate fourfold.

“It won’t be long until we pass the 300-kg limit of low enriched uranium. So it’s better for the other side to do what it’s necessary to be done,” Kamalvandi said, alluding to steps by other powers to shield Iran’s economy from U.S. sanctions.

He said the acceleration of Iran’s centrifuge enrichment machines remained within the bounds of the nuclear deal, and Tehran had no intention to exit the accord.

It was not clear how far Iran’s current stock of low-enriched uranium was from the 300-kg limit.

Under the deal, Iran may enrich uranium to 3.67 per cent purity – far below the 90 per cent of weapons-grade, and also below the 20 per cent level to which Iran refined uranium before the deal.

Iran has threatened that in 60 days it would resume enrichment beyond the 3.67 per cent level unless remaining signatories of the deal – Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – find a way to safeguard its vital oil and banking sectors.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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