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Washington, Sep 16 . .- The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, assured this Wednesday that the US will do “everything it has to do” for the reimposition of the UN sanctions on Iran, something for which that Washington seems to have insufficient support.

“We will return to the United Nations to reimpose the sanctions next week so that the arms embargo is permanent,” Pompeo said after meeting at State Department headquarters with his British colleague, Dominic Raab.

“We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that those sanctions are applied … We deeply believe that this is good for the people of all nations,” he added.

The UN arms embargo against Iran expires next month, as stipulated in the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 between Iran and six great powers, including the United States, and as stated in Security Council resolution 2231.

However, the government of US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the pact in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

The US is trying to convince the other members of the Security Council to maintain those sanctions on Iran, without appearing to have managed to garner enough support from their allies.

“The UN will take the sanctions that it always takes, valid resolutions of the UN Security Council, and the United States will do what it always does, will do its part within its responsibilities to seek peace,” Pompeo said.

The Secretary of State assured that “the only thing that the previous administration (of Barack Obama) did well is that (in the agreement with Iran) it created a provision by which, according to Resolution 2231 of the UN Security Council, any nation identified there had the right to decide the reimposition of the sanctions that were in force before this, and that is what we will do, “he added.

Some US allies, such as the United Kingdom, France or Germany, who remain in the nuclear agreement with Iran, consider that having abandoned that pact the United States can no longer reactivate the sanctions.

In this regard, Raab limited himself to saying that the United Kingdom shares “the concerns of the United States about Iran and the Iranian threat both in the nuclear aspect and in its broader destabilizing activities in the region.”

On the international agreement with Iran, the British minister said he did not believe that “it is perfect in any way”, and that it should be expanded so that it is “more complete”, something in which he assured that he agrees with the United States.

Pompeo, finally, defended the policy of “maximum pressure” that the Trump administration has been applying on Iran, and that, he stressed, has greatly reduced Tehran’s ability to “cause harm” in the world.

“Anyone who looks at Iran’s financial situation (can appreciate) the fact that it no longer has the resources to finance Hezbollah and the Shiite militias in all the places where they have spent money on evil activities,” he said.


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Coronavirus update San Antonio, Sept. 17: Officials report 141 new COVID-19 cases, 2 new deaths

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Coronavirus red alert declared in Iran as death toll nears 24,000

Women on public transport in coronavirus-stricken Iran – Bloomberg/Ali Mohammadi

Iran has declared a coronavirus red alert due to a third wave of infections, with thousands more deaths likely to follow in the Middle East’s worst affected country. 

The red alert will cover the entire country, according to Iranian state media reports, as the death toll rose on Friday by 144 to 23,952 and the total number of cases exceeded 400,000. 

Iranian officials have carved up the country into white, orange and red areas based on the number of infections and deaths. 

But the country’s deputy health minister said the system was now redundant as “the entire country is red.”

“The colour classification doesn’t make sense anymore,” Iraj Harirchi said on an Iranian television programme. “If the current course continues, the death toll will reach 45,000,” he added. 

According to Reuters news agency, in the northwestern city of Tabriz, the number of hospitalised patients has risen from under 40 per day to 160. 

And in the Shia Muslim holy city of Qom, it has increased from ten a day to 160. 

Mr Harirchi said that if 95 per cent of the country wore masks and the number of gatherings fell by half then the severe death toll could be reduced. 

It comes after leaked documents revealed that the number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran was at least triple the figure reported by the authorities. 

The papers, obtained by BBC Persian, showed that an even more severe third wave of the virus was underway. 

Even by the government’s public figures, Iran is the worst affected country in the Middle East.

Iran formally reported its first coronavirus case in mid-February, with the deaths of two people in Qom, though health workers and Iranian journalists had given earlier warnings about the illness.

Since then, Iran has been accused of deliberately underreporting infections. 

“Everyone knew that the number of Covid cases was significantly higher than what officials were reporting,” an Iranian journalist in Tehran told The Telegraph earlier this month. 

Iran has also struggled under crippling US sanctions targeting the regime’s leadership, which even before the pandemic had led to severe medicine shortage. 

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