Rouhani: Iran will file legal case against US for sanctions

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the US sanctions have affected the value of rial currency and increased inflation, but the government would overcome the difficulties. (Official Iranian President website via Reuters)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Rouhani: Iran will file legal case against US for sanctions

  • Iranian president says the US sanctions have affected the value of rial and increased inflation
  • But government would overcome the difficulties, he adds

LONDON: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the government would file a legal case in Iran against US officials who imposed sanctions on the country as a precursor to action in international courts.

Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television that US sanctions had created difficulties including a weaker rial currency that has fed into higher inflation.

The United States reimposed sanctions on Tehran after US President Donald Trump chose last May to abandon Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord, negotiated with five other world powers.

Rouhani said he had ordered the ministries of foreign affairs and justice “to file a legal case in Iranian courts against those in America who designed and imposed sanctions on Iran.” “These sanctions are crime against humanity,” he added.

If the Iranian court finds against the US officials, Iran will pursue the case in international courts of justice, the president said.

“The Americans have only one goal: they want to come back to Iran and rule the nation again,” Rouhani said, reiterating Tehran’s view that US sanctions are aimed at overthrowing the government and ushering in one more aligned with US policies.

The sanctions permit trade in humanitarian goods such as food and pharmaceuticals but measures imposed on banks, and trade restrictions, could make such items more expensive as well as more difficult to pay for.

Trump said when he pulled out of the landmark 2015 deal that lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its atomic activities that it failed to rein in Iran’s missile program or curb its regional meddling.


Egypt bucks trend with vote to extend El-Sisi rule

Updated 17 min 56 sec ago
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Egypt bucks trend with vote to extend El-Sisi rule

  • On April 16, the parliament overwhelmingly approved changes extending presidential terms from four to six years
  • The amendments would prolong El-Sisi’s current term to 2024 and allow him to then run for another six-year term

CAIRO: In a referendum bucking the trend of the region’s mini-Arab Spring, Egyptians are to start voting Saturday on constitutional amendments that extend President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s rule until at least 2024.
The vote running from April 20-22 was officially announced on Wednesday, a day after parliament overwhelmingly approved the changes extending presidential terms from four to six years.
The amendments — widely expected to pass in the face of minimal opposition — would prolong El-Sisi’s current term to 2024 from 2022 and allow him to then run for another six-year term.
They also include giving the military greater influence in political life, granting El-Sisi wide control over the judiciary and broadening the jurisdiction of military courts over civilians.
Egypt has been preparing for the referendum at the same time as parliament debated the amendments since the start of April.
Banners and billboards have gone up across the capital Cairo in the past weeks urging people to take part.
Many carry slogans implicitly urging people to back the amendments by doing “the right thing,” while others sponsored by the pro-government Nation’s Future party call outright for a “Yes” vote.
The referendum comes after two veteran presidents, Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Omar Al-Bashir, were ousted in Algeria and Sudan, respectively, this month following mass street demonstrations.
MP Mohamed Abu-Hamed, who pushed for the constitutional amendments to keep El-Sisi in power, is adamant the changes are needed to allow the president to complete political and economic reforms.
El-Sisi “took important political, economic and security measures... (and) must continue with his reforms,” in the face of the unrest gripping neighboring countries, the deputy told AFP.
The Soufan Center, however, said Thursday that the amendments would “solidify El-Sisi’s grip on the Egyptian political regime.”
“There is little observable public opposition to the constitutional changes, likely a result of the oppressive nature of the Egyptian government,” said the think tank.
Under El-Sisi, “Egypt has become even more autocratic than it was under (long-time ruler Hosni) Mubarak,” it said.
As army chief of staff at the time, El-Sisi led the military’s overthrow of elected president Muhammad Mursi in 2013 following mass protests against the Islamist leader’s rule.
He won his first term as president in 2014, three years after the uprising that toppled Mubarak, and was re-elected in March 2018 with more than 97 percent of the vote, after standing virtually unopposed.
His government has been widely criticized by human rights groups for the repression of political opponents.
But the “recent political upheavals in Algeria and Sudan have little hope of being replicated in Egypt, where the initial murmurings of the Arab Spring have since been silenced,” said the Soufan Center.
Other constitutional amendments include a quota for women’s representation of no less than 25 percent in parliament and forming a second parliamentary chamber.
Activists including Human Rights Watch have blasted the main changes as part of a campaign to cement El-Sisi’s “authoritarian rule.”
Amnesty International said that by approving the amendments, parliamentarians had shown a “complete disregard for human rights.”
The haste with which the referendum has been pushed through prompted Egyptian and international human rights groups to call the electoral process “unfree and unfair.”
“The current national climate in Egypt is devoid of any space in which a... referendum can occur with... guarantees of partiality and fairness,” rights groups said in a joint statement.
Parliament’s small opposition “25-30 Alliance” is urging Egypt’s electorate to reject the amendments.
With the overwhelming majority of the media in the El-Sisi camp, dissenting voices have been largely restricted to social networks.