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KIEV, September 20, 2018 (News Wires) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Thursday that there was a risk of international sanctions on Russia being softened.

Addressing parliament, he said making concessions to the Kremlin before Russia had handed the Crimea region back to Ukraine would be a defeat for international law.

“We will consistently oppose attempts to ease the sanctions pressure on Russia,” he said. “But know that there is a risk of softening (sanctions).”

BRUSSELS, September 20, 2018 (News Wires) - Europe’s justice chief gave US social media giant Facebook until the end of the year to comply with EU consumer rules or face sanctions.

European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova also said on Thursday that Airbnb had made the necessary changes after being told to do so three months ago, confirming a Reuters story on Wednesday.

“My patience has reached its limit. While Facebook assured me to finally adapt any remaining misleading terms of services by December, this has been ongoing for too long,” Jourova said in a statement.

“It is now time for action and no more promises. If the changes are not fully implemented by the end of the year, I call on consumer authorities to act swiftly and sanction the company,” she said.

Jourova had in February told the company and other social media platforms to toe the line.

 

LONDON, August 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Iran said on Saturday it would resist the pressures of US sanctions by relying on its natural and human resources, as Washington pushes allies to cut economic ties with Tehran.

"It is a critical moment for our economy, but we are not in a dead end," Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

"This country has plenty of human and natural resources that can rely on."

"The size of our oil and gas resources is number one in the world. In minerals and metals we are among the top 10 countries," Jahangiri said.

Washington has withdrawn from a deal that had lifted sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Sanctions imposed in August target Iran´s trade in gold and other precious metals, its purchases of US dollars and its car industry.

US President Donald Trump has said a new round of sanctions will be imposed in November, targeting Iranian oil sales.

Iran´s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week rejected Trump´s offer of talks.

Iran's rial currency has lost about half of its value since April, driven mainly by heavy demand for dollars among ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.

SEOUL, August 17, 2018 (MENA) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un harshly criticized international sanctions on the North during his visit to a tourist complex under construction on the North's eastern coast, Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that Kim, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-ju and ranking government and party officials, inspected the construction site of the Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist area.

In a meeting with construction workers there, Kim expressed discontent with international sanctions, accusing "hostile forces" of attempting to stifle the North's people through "brigandish" sanctions and blockade.

Following the North-US summit talks in Singapore on June 12, Pyongyang's official and propaganda media outlets have steadily displayed strong dissatisfaction with Washington-led international sanctions and have pressed South Korea not to blindly follow them.

 

By the Gazette Editorial Board

The trade war the US is launching against various countries under the slogan of "America First" is one aspect of current US policy. The ongoing crisis between Washington and Ankara is seen to be another. But it far exceeds the row over the imprisonment of the American pastor, Andrew Craig Brunson, whom the Turkish Authorities accuse of espionage and ties to terror.

 

Trump recently tweeted that US-Turkish relations were currently not good. They stand, in fact, at a 100-year-low. After having been the biggest and most reliable US ally, one that Washington depended on to contribute to political and military stability, Turkey chose to side with America’s rivals in the course of considering its national interests in the region, especially while dealing with the Syrian file.

 

Relations between the old allies started to deteriorate because of US support for the Kurds in Syria.This raised Ankara's concern over the possible emergence of a Kurdish state on its border and it, therefore, stepped up its military operations in northern Syria targeting the Kurdish regions.

 

Then again, though a member of NATO, Turkey's relations with the West, including the US, recently suffered the most since Erdogan started fostering his authoritarian rule of Turkey, revealing the falsity of the image of his AKP party as an Islamic democratic ruling party.

 

Therefore, the change in Washington's attitude towards Ankara cannot be seen in the light of the new protective economic measures being taken by President Trump to promote the US national economy. It is more likely that America's Trump has lost interest in Erdogan’s Turkey as a Civil Democratic Muslim State that can impose its model on other Muslim countries of the Middle East.

 

Unlike his predecessor who used Ankara to provide political and financial support to some Muslim movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, in order to rule some Arab countries, Trump has turned his back on these fanatical groups as well as Turkey. The reason likely lies in the Turkish ruler’s tendency to disconnect from Western democratic principles and resort to the oppression of his rivals after the alleged coup against his rule in 2016.

 

The question is how far will the two countries work to mend this crack in relations and overcome the current crisis.

 

In retaliation for Trump's decision to boost tariffs on Turkish exports of steel and aluminium to the US that caused the free fall of the Turkish currency in face of the US dollar, Erdogan announced a boycott of US electronic goods.

 

Continuing to escalate measures against each other is likely not only to harm the economies of the two countries but may also provoke geopolitical shifts that might eventually damage the peace and security of the Middle East region and the entire world.

TEHRAN, August 15, 2018 (News Wires) - The United States is trying to make Iran surrender through the imposition of sanctions, Iranian vice president Eshaq Jahangiri said on Wednesday.

New US sanctions against Iran took effect last week, and President Donald Trump said companies doing business with the country will be barred from the United States.

“The first priority for all of us under a sanctions situation is to work toward managing the country in a way that brings the least amount of damage to people’s lives,” Fars News quoted Jahangiri as saying. “America is trying by apply various pressures on our society to force us to retreat and surrender.”

The new sanctions targeted Iranian purchases of US dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector, though the toughest measures targeting oil exports do not take effect for four more months.

Few US companies do much business in Iran so the impact of sanctions mainly stems from Washington’s ability to block European and Asian firms from trading there.

President Hassan Rouhani made similar comments to Jahangiri, although he did not specifically refer to the United States.

“We will not let the enemy bring us to our knees,” Rouhani said, according to state TV. “If the enemy thinks they will defeat us they will take this hope to the grave with them.”

Washington had said Iran’s only chance of avoiding the sanctions would be to accept an offer by Trump to negotiate a tougher nuclear deal than the international accord struck in 2015.

Iranian officials already rejected the offer and on Monday Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in the country, also ruled out the possibility of talks.

The Iranian economy is beset by high unemployment and a rial currency which has lost half its value since April. The reimposition of sanctions could also make the economic situation worse.

Rouhani said today that the economy is the biggest problem facing the country.

Khamenei accused the Iranian government of economic mismanagement on Monday in the face of reimposed sanctions.

Thousands of Iranians have protested in recent weeks against sharp price rises of some food items, a lack of jobs and state corruption. The protests over the cost of living have often turned into anti-government rallies.

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