Magnitude 6.3 earthquake hits western Iran; 200 injured – Channel4000

(CNN) – At least 200 people were injured in a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck near the border with Iraq, Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

Sunday’s quake in the western part of the country was about 6 miles deep, the US Geological Survey said.

Buildings were damaged in various rural areas in SarPol-e zahab and Qasr-e-Shirin, causing walls of some homes to fall, says Fars.

Tremors could be felt as far away as Baghdad. Social media users in the Iraqi capital uploaded videos of furniture moving and chandeliers swinging.

The quake was about 12 miles from Sarpol Zahab, Kermanshah province, the USGS said.

Iran sits on a major fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian plates and has had many earthquakes.

Source: Magnitude 6.3 earthquake hits western Iran; 200 injured – Channel4000

US unleashes “toughest ever” sanctions on Iran – BBC News

Protesters demonstrated outside the former US embassy in Tehran on Sunday

The US will unleash its “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran on Monday following a wave of protests across the oil-rich country.

The Trump administration is reinstating all sanctions removed under the 2015 nuclear deal, targeting both Iran and states that trade with it.

It will hit oil exports, shipping and banks, all core parts of the economy.

Thousands of Iranians chanting “Death to America” rallied on Sunday, rejecting calls for talks.

Iran’s military was also quoted as saying it would hold air drills on Monday and Tuesday to prove the country’s defensive capabilities.

Source: US unleashes “toughest ever” sanctions on Iran – BBC News

Caspian Sea: Five countries sign deal to end dispute – BBC News

Five countries agree to share the resource-rich Caspian Sea after more than two decades of dispute.

Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – all bordering the Caspian Sea – have agreed in principle on how to divide it up.

Their leaders signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in the Kazakh city of Aktau on Sunday.

It establishes a formula for dividing up its resources and prevents other powers from setting up a military presence there.

It is an important step in the easing of regional tensions, but the deal over the world’s largest inland body of water matters for several reasons.

Source: Caspian Sea: Five countries sign deal to end dispute – BBC News

Trump’s 1st round of Iran sanctions sends message: This is not a test

  • The Trump administration’s first deadline for companies to wind down some transactions with Iran begins Monday.
  • The sanctions hit Iran’s ability to access dollars, engage in some financial activity and attract investment into its auto and aviation industry.
  • The penalties pale in comparison to energy sanctions due later this year but send a message that Washington is not backing down.

Source: Trump’s 1st round of Iran sanctions sends message: This is not a test

US vows strongest ever Iran sanctions

The top US diplomat sets out new demands to Iran, which says the US is reverting to old “delusions”.

In a speech in Washington, America’s top diplomat said Iran would be “battling to keep its economy alive” after the sanctions took effect.

His Iranian counterpart said the US was a prisoner of its “failed policies” and would suffer the consequences.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump took the US out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Source: US vows strongest ever Iran sanctions

U.N. Chief: Halt ‘All Hostile Acts’ in the Middle East | Time

BEIRUT (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate halt to “all hostile acts” to avoid “a new conflagration” in the Middle East after Israeli forces bombed Iranian targets inside Syria.

Guterres’ comments came as a calm night followed intense attacks on parts of Syria by Israel. Israel said the strikes early Thursday were retaliation for an Iranian rocket barrage on its positions in the Golan Heights and has called on the U.N. Security Council and secretary-general to immediately condemn Iran’s attack.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned Israel’s attacks and called it a blatant violation of Syria’s sovereignty.

Source: U.N. Chief: Halt ‘All Hostile Acts’ in the Middle East | Time

Trump Dumps Iran Deal — Hallelujah! | National Review

The Iran deal empowered the totalitarians. Trump’s exit squeezes them.

If you think that is an exaggeration, then you evidently think the Obama administration’s injection of well over a hundred billion dollars — some of it in the form of cash bribes — into the coffers of the world’s leading state sponsor of anti-American terrorism was either trivial or, more delusionally, a master-stroke of statecraft.

Of course, there’s a lot of delusion going around. After repeatedly vowing to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons (with signature “If you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance” candor), President Obama, and his trusty factotum John Kerry, made an agreement that guaranteed Iran would obtain a nuclear weapon.

Source: Trump Dumps Iran Deal — Hallelujah! | National Review

(Fox News) – North Korea says it won’t do Iran-style nuclear deal with US

>North Korea’s government said Tuesday that it had no interest in pursuing a nuclear agreement of its own with the U.S. as long as Washington pursued what Pyongyang described as provocative U.S. policies.

The statement from the isolated, totalitarian country’s Foreign Ministry was its first official response to the agreement concluded earlier this month between Iran and six global powers, including the U.S.

The unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman said the North’s nuclear deterrent was “not a plaything to be put on the negotiating table” in the statement, which was carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. There was no immediate comment form the U.S.

North Korea’s nuclear program is a major regional concern, with the country having conducted atomic weapons tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. International nuclear disarmament talks have been stalled since early 2009, and outside analysts believe the North has built a small but growing nuclear bomb arsenal.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said North Korea is different from Iran because it already has nuclear weapons. He said the North faces constant military and nuclear threats from the U.S., citing its regular military exercises with South Korea.

On Thursday, U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman had said that Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement, followed by the lifting of sanctions, “might give North Korea second thoughts.”

But Tuesday’s statement said that North Korea “is not interested at all in the dialogue to discuss the issue of making it freeze or dismantle its nukes unilaterally first,” adding that the North “remains unchanged in the mission of its nuclear force as long as the U.S. continues pursuing its hostile policy toward” the country.

In May, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the U.S., South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan were coordinating attempts to engage North Korea in preliminary talks about Pyongyang’s nuclear program. However, officials in Washington and Seoul told the Wall Street Journal that North Korea had not responded to overtures made by the U.S. and South Korea in recent months.

The so-called six-party talks began in 2003 to negotiate for North Korea’s denuclearization in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees. Talks have been stalled since late 2008. Earlier this year, the Journal reported that Chinese experts had warned U.S. officials that North Korea could double the size of its nuclear arsenal by the beginning of next year.

The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea as deterrence against potential aggression from North Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Under the Iranian nuclear deal reached by Tehran, Washington and others, Iran’s nuclear program will be curbed for a decade in exchange for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of relief from international sanctions. Many key penalties on the Iranian economy, such as those related to the energy and financial sectors, could be lifted by the end of the year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal.

Source: North Korea says it won’t do Iran-style nuclear deal with US