Iran calls for destruction of all nuclear weapons
Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Gholamali Khoshroo has called for the total eradication of nuclear weapons.
According to Press TV, Khoshroo reiterated Iran’s call during a UN conference aimed at creating a nuclear weapons ban treaty in New York on Tuesday.
“Iran, as a victim of chemical weapons, strongly feels the danger posed by the existence of weapons of mass destruction and is determined to engage actively in international diplomatic efforts to save humanity from the menace of nuclear weapons,” he said.
Khoshroo stressed that Iran is committed to its Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, which include negotiations based on effective nuclear disarmament measures.
He added that several countries continue to ignore international calls and treaties for nuclear disarmament and even continue to increase their nuclear stockpiles. “They do not have political determination to abandon doctrines of nuclear deterrence and nuclear terror,” he went on to say.
Iran’s UN ambassador noted that boycotting the talks by many countries, including the US, shows that the world’s nuclear powers are by no means committed to the eradication of nuclear arms. Britain and France were also among the some 40 countries that did not join the talks.
“We note that prohibition of nuclear weapons must be accompanied by the elimination of such weapons. There can be no doubt that without complete abolition of nuclear weapons, there will be no absolute guarantee against the danger of nuclear war and the use of such weapons,” Khoshroo added.
ME – IRIB
US general admits US airstrike killed 100s of civilians in Mosul
A high-ranking US commander has admitted that there was a “fair chance” that a coalition airstrike in western Mosul killed a large number of Iraqi civilians.
According to Press TV, Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend while talking to reporters on Tuesday said “We probably had a role in those casualties.”
He noted that the reason for the high number of casualties was Daesh’s repulsive practice of using civilians as human shields.
On March 17, Iraq’s Kurdish-language Rudaw television network reported that 237 people had been killed in US-led coalition airstrikes on a Daesh-held neighborhood in western Mosul.
“The enemy had a hand in this,” he added, stressing that “It sure looks like” the civilians has been forced to gather in the building by the terrorists. “What I don’t know is why they [the civilians] gathered there by the enemy?”
Despite admitting to the US’s involvement in the incident, Townsend noted that the munitions used by US-led coalition forces in densely-populated urban areas were not designed to cause such a level of destruction.
Last week, a senior Iraqi military official announced that a US-led coalition airstrike on a Daesh truck carrying explosives resulted in the civilian deaths in Mosul incident.
On Monday, the Pentagon announced that it was analyzing over 700 video feeds from airstrikes on west Mosul following the increasing number of reports of civilian causalities.
A spokesman for the US Central Command, Colonel J.T. Thomas, stressed that high priority was being given to the reports. He added that the US was aware they were dropping bombs in the “immediate vicinity” of areas with a high civilian population but their bombs were “quite precise.”
The US had previously admitted to having launched airstrikes in Mosul on the day of the deadly tragedy.
Meanwhile, the UN has called on the US-led coalition in Iraq to take further measures towards protecting civilians while noting that Daesh was sending residents into buildings and areas which were the targets of airstrikes.
In a report, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, also called on all forces engaged in anti-terror operations in Iraq to “avoid the trap” of hitting buildings in which Daesh had placed explosives and sent locals to take shelter in.
He added that the terrorists “strategy of using children, men and women to shield themselves from attack is cowardly and disgraceful. It breaches the most basic standards of human dignity and morality.”
On Monday, Amnesty International also voiced its concerns over the number of civilian casualties in Mosul, suggesting the US-led coalition may not be doing enough to avoid such casualties.
Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters launched an offensive to retake Mosul in October 2016. The forces took control of eastern Mosul in January and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
Trump urged Germany to pay $375bn NATO debt: Report
US President Donald Trump has reportedly called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to pay hundreds of billions of dollars Berlin owes to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a German minister says, calling the request “outrageous.”
Trump handed the bill – thought to be for more than £300 billionns (US$375 billions) —to Merkel during their last week meeting in Washington, DC, the Sunday Times reported, citing an unnamed German minister.
“The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations,” the minister added.
During the meeting, the new US president reportedly criticized Germany for not making adequate contributions to the military alliance, forcing the US to burden larger spending than its fair share.
Under a 2014 agreement, each NATO member should set aside two percent of their GDP for military purposes. However, only the US, Britain, Estonia, Greece and Poland have so far been able to meet the target.
Despite constantly increasing its military spending, Germany has yet to invest the required amount.
According to the report, Trump’s bill takes 2002 as the starting point for the 2-percent payment and calculates the amount that Germans have fallen short of paying since then plus interest.
American officials argue that in 2002, Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, committed his country to higher military spending.
Sources within the US government have indicated that Trump is preparing similar bills for all NATO members who have not paid their share in full.
“The president has a very unorthodox view on NATO defense spending,” said a source close to Merkel. “The alliance is not a club with a membership fee. The commitments relate to countries’ investment in their defense budgets.”
The Times noted that Merkel “ignored the provocation” but promised to gradually increase spending. She also asked Trump to factor in the money Berlin was spending for international development.
A day after his meeting with Merkel, Trump said in a tweet that Germany “owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in response that Trump was wrong to assume that Germany and other NATO members have to spend the entire two percent of their economic output on issues related to the alliance.
Courtesy: Press TV