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Friday , February 28 2020

G7 urged to find unity on Iran


French President Emmanuel Macron, center right, and Brigitte Macron, right, welcome U.S President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump at the Biarritz lighthouse, southwestern France, ahead of a working dinner Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. Shadowed by the threat of global recession, a U.S. trade war with China and the possibility of one against Europe, the posturing by leaders of the G-7 rich democracies began well before they stood together for a summit photo. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

BRUSSELS, Aug 24, (Agencies): The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk Saturday called on the leaders of the world’s seven most advanced economies in the world, G7, to heal the rift on Iran and find a common position.

“The rejection of the nuclear deal with Iran by the US hasn’t brought about any positive results, and the divisions in the Western world when it comes to this issue, play into the hands of the Iranian Ayatollahs, as well as Russia and China” he told a press conference in Biarritz, France, ahead of the G7 summit.

“G7 leaders should make one more effort to find common language on this,” he said. He noted that the G7 summit “will be a difficult test of unity and solidarity of the free world and its leaders.”

“There is still no certainty whether the group will be able to find common solutions, or whether it will focus on senseless disputes among each other,” said Tusk. France and Britain aimed on Friday to present a united front on how to deal with Iran, where they have been at odds with the United States. European states have been scrambling to save a 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran since US President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord last year and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran that have crippled its economy. Iran has produced highly accurate missiles which it has not publicised, Iranian Deputy Defence Minister General Qassem Taqizadeh said on Friday, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. “Today we have very accurate missiles which we have not publicized,” Taqizadeh said, according to Fars.

Iran has test fired a new missile, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said on Saturday, according to the Tasnim news agency. “Our country is always the arena for testing a variety of defense and strategic systems and these are non-stop movements towards the growth of our deterrent power,” Salami said.

“And yesterday was one of the successful days for this nation.” He did not provide any additional information about the missile. Iran shot down a US military surveillance drone in the Gulf with a surface-to-air missile in June, nearly setting off a confl ict with America. The Islamic Republic says the drone was over its territory, but the United States says it was in international airspace.

“The Americans know well that we don’t have to go to New York and confront them,” Taqizadeh said. “Today there are tens of thousands of Americans in the region and because of this the Supreme Leader said that they will not get into a war with us.” An Iranian-fl agged oil tanker pursued by the US amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington changed its listed destination to a port in Turkey early Saturday after Greece said it wouldn’t risk its relations with America by aiding it. The crew of the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, updated its listed destination in its Automatic Identification System to Mersin, Turkey, a port city in the country’s south and home to an oil terminal. However, mariners can input any destination into the AIS, so Turkey may not be its true destination.

Mersin is some 200 kms (125 miles) northwest of a refinery in Baniyas, Syria, where authorities alleged the Adrian Darya had been heading before being seized off Gibraltar in early July. Meanwhile, Iran continues to hold the British-fl agged oil tanker Stena Impero, which it seized in a commando-style raid July 19 after the taking of the Adrian Darya. Analysts suggested the release of the Adrian Darya would see the Stena Impero let go, but that has yet to happen.

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