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Iran to partially withdraw from nuclear deal as tensions with U.S. rise: reports – National

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Iran to partially withdraw from nuclear deal as tensions with U.S. rise reports National

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TEHRAN, Iran – Iran on Wednesday will announce it is partially withdrawing from the nuclear deal it struck with world powers, its state-run news agency reported, a year to the day that President Donald Trump pulled America from the accord.


READ MORE:
U.S. deploys aircraft carrier in response to ‘clear indications’ of possible attack from Iran

The terms of the withdrawal remain unclear, though the IRNA news agency said President Hassan Rouhani will explain Iran’s decision in letters to leaders of Britain, France and Germany that will be handed to ambassadors in Tehran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif separately will write to the European Union, the agency said.Iran air

The semi-official ISNA news agency reported late Tuesday that Zarif had left for Moscow to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to discuss bilateral and international issues, without elaborating.

Details of the letters, all to signers of the 2015 accord, will not be publicly disclosed, it said.

WATCH: U.S. ending sanction waivers for Iran oil imports





The letters will come as officials in the Islamic Republic previously warned that Iran might increase its uranium enrichment, potentially pulling away from a deal it has sought to salvage for months. Already, the White House has announced the deployment of a U.S. aircraft carrier and a bomber wing to the Persian Gulf over unspecified threats from Iran.

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog says Iran has continued to comply with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, which saw it limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. But American sanctions have wreaked havoc on Iran’s already-anemic economy, while promised help from European partners in the deal haven’t alleviated the pain.


READ MORE:
U.S. takes steps to stop Iran from producing low-enriched uranium and expanding its sole power plant

The U.S. last week stopped issuing waivers for countries importing Iranian crude oil, a crucial source of cash for Iran’s government. It also halted waivers allowing Iran to store excess heavy water in Oman and to swap enriched uranium for raw yellowcake with Russia.

Trump campaigned on a promise to tear up the deal struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama. While Trump has sought to dismantle much of Obama’s policies, he particularly criticized the Iran nuclear deal for failing to address Tehran’s ballistic missile program and what he described as its malign influence across the rest of the Mideast.

A statement Sunday night from U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said the USS Abraham Lincoln, other ships in the carrier’s strike group and a bomber wing would deploy to the Mideast. Bolton blamed “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” without elaborating.

“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said.

A spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Keivan Khosravi, dismissed Bolton’s comments as “psychological warfare.”

Iran’s hard-line Javan newspaper, associated with the Revolutionary Guard, said Wednesday would “ignite the matchstick for burning the deal.” It suggested in its Tuesday edition that Iran may install advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility and begin enrichment at its Fordo facility, activities prohibited under the nuclear deal.

WATCH: Iran threatens to put U.S. military on terror list (April 7)





The USS Abraham Lincoln had been in the Mediterranean Sea conducting operations alongside the USS John C. Stennis, another aircraft carrier that has twice been in the Persian Gulf in recent months. On Tuesday, U.S. military officials said the Lincoln would be skipping a planned port call in Croatia to more rapidly reach the Persian Gulf.

However, American military officials have stopped the near-continuous presence of aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, a pattern set following the 1991 Gulf War. American air bases spanning the region can scramble fighter jets and drones, lessening the necessity of an aircraft carrier as U.S. officials also worry about China and Russia.


READ MORE:
Iranian politicians chant ‘death to America’ after Revolutionary Guards declared a terror group

Already in the Persian Gulf is a group of U.S. Navy warships led by the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship carrying troops from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Kearsarge also carries AV-8B Harrier fighter jets, MH-60 helicopters and MV-22 Osprey airplanes.

Across the wider 5th Fleet, there were 17 warships deployed, according to the most-recent count by the U.S. Naval Institute, which tracks deployments around the world.

The Bahrain-based 5th Fleet declined to comment on the White House announcement when reached by the AP on Monday.

It also remains unclear where the bomber wing would be deployed to the region. Typically, the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, home to the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command, hosts such bomber deployments.

WATCH: Trump says he’s keeping troops in Iraq to keep an eye on Iran (Feb. 3)





In late March, the Air Force acknowledged a rare gap in bomber cover in the Mideast after a squadron of B-1 Lancers left al-Udeid to return to Texas. B-52 bombers also had been deployed to the area to keep up attacks on the Islamic State group, the first time the aging aircraft had deployed to the region in 25 years.

Officials at al-Udeid, which also hosts the F-35 fighter jet, declined to answer questions from the AP. However, a statement Tuesday from Central Command said the Air Force again planned to deploy B-52s to the region.

The Trump administration, which abruptly announced in December that it was pulling out of Syria, still maintains 2,000 U.S. troops in the northern part of the war-torn country. Officials suggest they serve as a check on Iranian ambitions and help ensure that Islamic State fighters do not regroup. No significant U.S. forces have so far withdrawn from Syria.

Trump has also said he has no plans to withdraw the 5,200 troops stationed in Iraq as part of a security agreement to advise, assist and support the country’s troops in the fight against IS. Earlier this year, Trump angered Iraqi politicians and Iranian-backed factions by saying troops should stay there to keep an eye on neighbouring Iran.

— Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.



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FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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