Tag Archives: Pressure

Donald Trump vowed to raise pressure on Iran and cripple its economy. Did it backfire?

Donald Trump vowed to raise pressure on Iran and cripple its economy. Did it backfire?Critics of Donald Trump’s Iran strategy say it has created the current crisis but the administration says Tehran will be forced to negotiate.



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Strait of Hormuz: key waterway under pressure

Strait of Hormuz: key waterway under pressureThe Strait of Hormuz, located in the area where Iran shot down a US military drone, is a strategically important waterway for the world’s oil transits, which lies at the heart of regional tensions. Iran warned on Friday it would “decisively defend its territory” against eventual US retaliation, while the airlines KLM, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas and Singapore Airlines said they were suspending flights over the strait. The Strait of Hormuz links the Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and is situated between Iran and Oman.



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Pompeo ups pressure on Russia over four MH17 accused

Pompeo ups pressure on Russia over four MH17 accusedMoscow must ensure that those charged with murder over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 face justice, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, after international investigators accused three Russians and a Ukrainian over the disaster. The trial of the four men with military and intelligence links will start in the Netherlands in March next year, although they are likely to be tried in absentia as neither Russia nor Ukraine extradites their nationals. The Dutch-led inquiry team on Wednesday said international arrest warrants had been issued for Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, all of whom are suspected of roles in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic.



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EU fights to keep nuclear deal alive amid US, Iran pressure

EU fights to keep nuclear deal alive amid US, Iran pressureA year after the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement, the pact is at severe risk of collapse and the European Union is caught in the middle, struggling to keep supply lines open to the Islamic Republic’s wilting economy under the threat of U.S. sanctions. With few real options left, their trust in the Trump administration running low, and fears rising that conflict could break out, major powers Germany, France and Britain have been reduced to repeating calls for restraint as pressure builds and Iran threatens to walk away from the painstakingly drafted 2015 deal. In an effort to keep Iran’s economy afloat and save an agreement they believe has stopped Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, the Europeans are turning to diplomacy to try to encourage other countries to buy more Iranian oil.



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Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido under pressure over alleged misappropriation of aid funds

Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido under pressure over alleged misappropriation of aid fundsVenezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has launched an investigation after two members of his team allegedly stole money destined to help deserting Venezuelans soldiers in Colombia. The pair, Kevin Rojas and Rossana Barrera – sister-in-law of opposition politician Sergio Vergara, Mr Guaido’s right-hand man – are accused of taking the money designated for supporting Venezuelans in the Colombian border town of Cucuta and blowing it on hotels, clubs, designer clothes and cars. A failed attempt to get humanitarian aid into the country on February 23 saw more than 40 soldiers abandon President Nicolas Maduro and swear allegiance to his rival, Mr Maduro. Within three days, that number had swollen to 270 and Mr Guaido, in Cucuta to try and push the aid into Venezuela, praised the deserting soldiers as heroes. He officially designated Mr Rojas and Ms Barrera with the task of caring for the soldiers, who had defected at enormous risk to themselves and their families. Yet Colombian police became suspicious when Mr Rojas and Ms Barrera began living a lavish lifestyle and burning through money. Colombia's President Ivan Duque, left, greets Venezuelan soldiers who defected as he visits the border area near Cucuta on February 23 In one night alone, according to the PanAm Post, they spent over three million Colombian pesos (£700) in a nightclub and hotel. Ms Barrera, the website reported, told Mr Guaido’s team in Caracas that she was paying for seven hotels in Cucuta, used to house the soldiers. Yet in reality she was only paying for two; the other five hotels were paid for by Colombia’s government and the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. She also claimed there were 1,450 soldiers in her care; in reality the figure was 700. In mid May Ms Barreras, using a false email, invited members of the Bogota diplomatic elite to a fundraiser at the exclusive Pajares Salina restaurant in the city. She said the event was organised by Mr Guaido’s appointed “ambassador” to Colombia, Humberto Calderon Berti. The fundraiser was cancelled when Mr Calderon’s team alerted other diplomatic missions in Bogota that they were not behind the event. Aerial picture showing smoke billowing from trucks which were carrying humanitarian aid and which were set ablaze on the Francisco de Paula Santander International Bridge between Cucuta in Colombia (left) and Urena (right) in Venezuela, on February 23 Colombian authorities are said to have caught on to the excessive spending and misappropriation of funds and alerted Mr Guaido and fellow Popular Will leader Leopoldo Lopez, but reportedly received no response. Finally, on May 27 Mr Calderon’s team called a meeting in Cucuta, and asked Ms Barrera to show her accounts. She informed them she had spent $ 100,000 (£80,000), but was unable to provide substantial receipts, the website claimed. On Monday Mr Guaido said there would be a full investigation. "Dictatorships cover up corruption," he tweeted. "We don't." Ms Barrera and Mr Rojas are believed to still be in Colombia. He announced that he was appointing Lester Toledo, coordinator of the humanitarian aid, to oversee the inquiry. Juan Guaido stands on a lorry carrying humanitarian aid in Cucuta on February 23. It failed to pass the border “We are fulfilling our promise regarding humanitarian aid with firmness and transparency,” he said. “I’ve told Lester Toledo to head an investigation into Colombia and provide a statement to all the press and international allies.” Mr Toledo on Tuesday demanded prison sentences for those found guilty of corruption, saying they had asked the Colombian attorney general to open an investigation. He also insisted that the $ 213 million (£169m) in aid sent by the United States was managed directly by Washington, and had never entered Mr Guaido’s hands. The scandal has dealt a serious blow to Mr Guaido’s team, however, and has been seized upon by Mr Maduro. A recent poll by opposition-aligned Datincorp found only 36 per cent of Venezuelans recognise Mr Guaido as head of state, down from 49 per cent in February. Mr Maduro, whom Mr Guaido has repeatedly vowed to remove from office, has seen his recognition increase from 34 per cent in February to 41 per cent in June. He has been quick to highlight the alleged opposition theft, saying it shows Mr Guaido's camp cannot be trusted. "Corruption isn't new in the opposition," he said. "The evidence is coming out."



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As U.S. Boosts Pressure, Iran Tests Trump's Appetite for a Fight

As U.S. Boosts Pressure, Iran Tests Trump's Appetite for a Fight(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump’s campaign vow to get the U.S. out of costly foreign entanglements is colliding with the messy reality of America’s commitments in the Middle East, where tensions are rising between Washington and Tehran after attacks on two tankers last week.The dilemma emerged again as the administration ordered another 1,000 troops to the region on Monday in response to what Trump officials say was Iran’s role in the latest strikes. The Tehran government has rejected those accusations.So far the international response to the U.S. charges has been muted. With the rhetoric on both the American and Iranian sides rising, the relatively small deployment announced Monday appears calibrated to show the U.S. will push back on what it sees as Iran’s bad behavior without changing the balance of American power in the region.“Trump is very determined to avoid getting dragged into a military conflict if he can avoid it,” said Gary Samore, a former White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction in the Obama administration.The president seemed to reinforce that impression in a Time magazine interview published late Monday. “So far, it’s been very minor,” he said of the attacks. Asked if he was considering a military confrontation, he told Time, “I wouldn’t say that. I can’t say that at all.”A Navy explosives expert who briefed reporters on the attacks at the Pentagon on Monday said the mines attached to a Japanese tanker were above the water line, which may indicate the attackers meant to damage the ship but not destroy it. A Pentagon spokesman later said the expert wasn’t part of the U.S.’s official investigation into the attacks.Analysts say that the broader Trump approach to foreign policy — exerting maximum pressure on adversaries to force concessions — raises the risk of an unintended conflict and has yet to pay off. From Tehran to Caracas to Pyongyang, U.S. efforts to force hostile regimes to back down have met stubborn resistance, despite threats or demands from officials including National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.Read More: Pentagon Shares New Photos, Timeline of Gulf Oil Tanker AttacksBefore Bolton joined the Trump administration last year, he publicly advocated war with Iran to eliminate its nuclear program. And it was Pompeo who last year announced a lengthy list of demands Iran had to meet to enter talks with the U.S., only to have the president say he just wished officials in Tehran would call him to work things out.“If it was up to others like Bolton and Pompeo, they would advocate more aggressive action but I don’t see any sign Trump is spoiling for a fight,” Samore said.The mixed messages and a general distrust of American motives have fueled doubts about U.S. intentions toward Iran, even among allies. The situation has been exacerbated, analysts say, by Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord and his administration’s general skepticism of alliances and multilateral institutions.“Unfortunately, our great comparative advantage as a nation — building and working with alliances — has eroded, particularly with respect to Iran,” Brett McGurk, Trump’s former envoy to the global coalition to combat the Islamic State, wrote in a tweet June 14. “Key western allies warned of this very circumstance and sequence of events when the US began its maximum pressure campaign a year ago.”Trump may be even less willing to consider military force this week given he will symbolically kick off his re-election campaign on Tuesday in Florida. Though he campaigned in 2016 on promises to get out of overseas conflicts, Trump has struggled to draw down troops in Syria and Afghanistan, and now is in the position of sending more forces to the Middle East as he tries to convince voters he deserves another four years in office.Sensing inconsistencies in Trump’s strategy, leaders in Tehran may even be trying to call the president’s bluff.Limited OptionsIranian officials have indicated the country may stop abiding by some elements of the 2015 nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in days, a move experts argue is a carefully calibrated bid to exert new pressure for sanctions relief on European nations that have urged Iran to remain in the deal.Short of war, options for additional U.S. pressure include stepping up military escorts for tankers in the Gulf region or striking boats or facilities belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the U.S. has said was involved in the latest attacks.Air Force General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs, said Tuesday in Washington that the U.S. has communicated a message to Iran of “hands off — don’t come after our forces” in public statements as well as through Iraqi and Swiss intermediaries.If Iran “comes after U.S. citizens, U.S. assets or the U.S. military we reserve the right to respond with military action — and they need to know that,” Silva, the No. 2 U.S. military official, said at a breakfast with defense reporters.Selva, who’s retiring next month, said tanker escorts like those the U.S. organized in the 1980s, would be “ill-advised” unless the “international community” fully participates.‘Lot of Hysteria’“There’s a lot of hysteria that holding Iran accountable has to be justified as a prelude to war,” said Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “We’re already in the midst of a low-intensity conflict that has managed to regulate itself.”Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump supporter, told reporters on Tuesday that “nobody’s talking about an Iraq War, but we are talking about a military response on the the table that would cripple their ability” to disrupt oil flow and about “destroying their ability to refine oil.”Yet others among Trump’s allies, such as Republican Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, caution that the U.S. and Iran must not edge closer to conflict.McCaul said that American forces in the region are in a “defensive posture” to protect transit through the Straits of Hormuz and he warned that military action against Iran would be “very, very complicated.”“I don’t think anyone has the appetite for war, although we do have military plans, obviously, contingency plans, in the event that is to happen,” McCaul said on Bloomberg Television. “I would caution that Iran is about the size of Iraq and Afghanistan combined and it would be very, very complicated."(Updates with Senator Graham in second paragraph after ‘Lot of Hystery’ subheadline.)\–With assistance from Margaret Talev, Daniel Flatley and Tony Capaccio.To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Wadhams in Washington at nwadhams@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at wfaries@bloomberg.net, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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US piles pressure on Iran with new troop deployments

US piles pressure on Iran with new troop deploymentsChina and Russia warned Tuesday about escalating Middle East tensions after Washington said it would deploy 1,000 more troops to the region and renewed accusations that Iran was behind a tanker attack. The US moves came as Iran set a 10-day countdown for world powers to fulfil their commitments under a nuclear deal abandoned by Washington, saying it would otherwise surpass the uranium stockpile limit mandated by the accord. Tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated ever since the US quit the deal, with Washington bolstering its military presence in the region and blacklisting Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.



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AOC on Trump's willingness to accept political 'dirt' on rivals: 'The pressure to impeach grows'

AOC on Trump's willingness to accept political 'dirt' on rivals: 'The pressure to impeach grows'Days after President Trump asserted he would take damaging information on his political rivals from a foreign power, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said "the pressure to impeach grows.”



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Rouhani says U.S. must lift pressure and apologize before Iran will negotiate

Rouhani says U.S. must lift pressure and apologize before Iran will negotiateGENEVA (Reuters) – Iran is willing to negotiate with America only when the United States lifts pressure and apologizes, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, according to state media. Oil prices hit their highest level since November on Tuesday after Washington announced all waivers on imports of sanctions-hit Iranian oil would end next week, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran and further tightening global supply. "We have always been a man of negotiation and diplomacy, the same way that we've been a man of war and defense. …



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Protesters Keep Pressure on Sudan's Army After Bashir Ousted

Protesters Keep Pressure on Sudan's Army After Bashir OustedDemonstrators maintained an overnight sit-in outside army headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, ignoring a 10 p.m.-4 a.m. curfew imposed when the military seized power. Defense Minister Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf was sworn in late Thursday as head of a military council, which plans to lead Africa’s third-largest country for two years and has declared a three-month state of emergency.



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