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Germany asks India to continue buying oil from Iran

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Germany asks India to continue buying oil from Iran

In an a rare development, Germany has called US pressure exerted on its allies to comply with sanctions on Iran “irritating, to put it mildly” and expressed hope that India will continue buying oil from Iran.

In an exclusive interview with an Indian TV channel, Neils Annen, the German minister of state for International Affairs on Wednesday said that Germany will act in its own interest and hopes that India, too, will continue buying Iranian oil.

He said, “It will be India’s sovereign decision. I am not a salesman for Iran but I have an impression that India is willing to continue buying oil from Iran and this will be a very important statement.”

The German minister was of the view that efforts now need to be made on devising a financial mechanism to overcome the US sanctions. He said the French government has made a proposal in this regard and that finding a suitable financial instrument to allow companies that want to deal with Iran, “will be complicated but needs to be done.”

The US administration had set a deadline for reducing oil trade with Iran to “zero” by November 4, when Washington implements second layer of sanctions against that country.

Read More: Iran accuses India of bowing to US pressure, warns of withdrawing privileges if it cuts oil import

However, some government source has recently indicated that US administration is softening its stand and was willing to work with countries on a case by case basis.

Two days ago US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had signalled for the first time that his country might consider exemptions from the sanctions for countries as they reduce their dependency on Iranian oil.

Moreover, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday, “We are going to very strongly enforce the Iran nuclear sanctions. We’ve told our counterparts as that we expect them to enforce the sanctions, but if there are specific situations, we’re open to listening.”

Both the high ranking US officials spoke to the reporters aboard Pompeo’s plane as they flew back from Mexico, where they held talks on border security, immigration and trade negotiations.

Germany is one of the US allies in Europe which has developed differences on several issues in recent past including Iran nuclear deal, NATO funding and Paris Climate treaty. US President Donald Trump crossed settled protocol by calling German Chancellor- “Angela, you need to do something about this” during recent NATO meeting in Brussels.

Read More: India under US pressure to cut oil imports from Iran, Govt says exploring all options

German minister’s observations came a day after India and US agreed to continue consultations on the proposed American sanctions on Iran. A day earlier Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi visited New Delhi for discussions on pressing ahead with the energy and connectivity cooperation.

Germany asks India to continue buying oil from Iran

On Tuesday, Marshall Billingslea, the assistant secretary for terrorist financing in the US treasury department and officials from petroleum and foreign ministry on the Indian side held a day-long discussions.

Ahead of the talks with US official, a source privy to the development said that India could convey to the US that it could look at reducing the import of oil from Tehran in return for an exemption from US sanctions on plans to push ahead with the development of Iran’s Chabahar Port, considered to be  a gateway to the landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia.

In 2012, India, when faced with a similar situation, had evolved a Rupee-Rial mechanism to bypass US sanctions and continue trading with Iran. Iran is India’s third-largest oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. However, India lost huge money due to reduced purchasing of Iranian oil.

Read More: Iran, P4+1 meet ends inconclusive in Vienna

European signatories of the landmark multilateral Iran nuclear deal, also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Britain, France and Germany have been in close contact with Iran and reiterated their willingness to continue trading with Iran. Several European companies have been engaged working with Iran since the implementation of the multilateral nuclear deal.

In May this year, US President Donald Trump had announced Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal to what was termed as ‘the worst deal ever’.

Recently Israel’s public broadcaster published a recording of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that he was responsible for persuading US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year.  He was quoted saying at a Likud party gathering “We convinced the president of the United States…to leave this agreement, we didn’t give up.”

Niels Annen, Germany’s Minister of State, was on a two-day visit to New Delhi on Tuesday and Wednesday. He discussed regional and security policy topics with Piyush Goyal, the Finance Minister, M J Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs, Vijay Gokhale, the Foreign Secretary and Ajit Doval, the NSA. Gokhale was earlier India’s ambassador to Germany.

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Bear takes 400 selfies with a sensory camera in USA’s Colorado, Twitter user amused

According to reports, the OSMP authorities had installed nine cameras to cover and click images of the wildlife land which is situated and spread out across 46,000 acres.

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The notion of clicking selfies has transgressed and gone beyond species as an amusing story has come to light from USA’s Colorado’s Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) where a bear hijacked a sensory camera and took 400 selfies. According to reports, the officials of Space and Mountain parks in Colorado had installed a camera in order to shoot the wildlife activities.

It was reported that when the officials took out the snaps that the sensory camera had clicked, they learnt that 580 images were clicked and out of the 580 images, the 400 of the images were selfies taken by a bear.

According to reports, the OSMP authorities had installed nine cameras to cover and click images of the wildlife land which is situated and spread out across 46,000 acres. The sensory cameras work on motion sensing and when an animal steps in the frame, the camera automatically captures the pictures of the subject that is in front of it.

The cameras also have features of taking pictures at night by using infrared light which cause less disruption to the animals who can get irritated by the flash.

The Tweet shows the images of the bear posing from all angles as it, for a moment, seems to be a model that is accustomed to pose for pictures.

See Tweet here:

Twitter reactions

After the tweet showing the selfies of the bear surfaced, many users came forward to add their take on the incident as one user wrote and said this pose by the bear looks to be inspired from the film Lolita.

One user wrote and praised the posing skills of the bear as the user wrote and said that the bear looks good and could be a professional model. Another user also amusingly added and wrote that they used to be as handsome as the bear a while ago. The user also wrote and said that nature is the champ.

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US intervention prevented India-Pakistan nuclear war post 2019 Balakot strike: Mike Pompeo

A timely intervention by the Trump administration prevented a potential nuclear war between India and Pakistan after the 2019 airstrikes, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has claimed in his new book.

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former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo

A timely intervention by the Trump administration prevented a potential nuclear war between India and Pakistan after the 2019 airstrikes, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has claimed in his new book.

In his book, “Never Give an Inch”, a memoir of his time as a top diplomat in Donald Trump regime and earlier as the CIA chief, Pompeo writes that the world doesn’t properly know how close the India-Pakistan rivalry came to spilling over into a nuclear war in February 2019.

The Indian Air Force on February 26, 2019 launched targeted airstrikes inside Pakistan targeting terrorist training camps of terror outfit of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Balakot region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

India’s response came after 41 CRPF men were killed in a suicide bombing in Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14, 2019.

India shot down an F-16 during an aerial combat in which an Indian warplane was shot down by Pakistan and the pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured.

Pompeo, seen by many as a potential future presidential contender, reveals that he was in Hanoi for a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, when he woke up to an urgent call from a senior Indian official.

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The official told Pompeo that he believed that Pakistan was prepping their nuclear weapons for a strike and India was preparing its own response.

Pompeo says he told the official to give the US time to sort things out and eventually US diplomats managed to convince the arch rivals that neither of them was going for the nuclear option, thus deescalating the situation.

The former Trump diplomat in his book says he believes that Pakistan “probably enabled” the Kashmir attack. Pompeo says he spoke to the Pakistan’s “actual leader” then army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, alluding to the weakness of civilian governments in the country.

Pompeo says that no other nation could have done what the US did that night to avoid “a horrible outcome.”

Pompeo had publicly defended India’s right to act during his stint as US secretary of state.

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India invites Pak foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto to SCO meet

India has reportedly invited Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial, to attend in the foreign ministers’ and chief justices’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

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Pak foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto

India has reportedly invited Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial, to attend in the foreign ministers’ and chief justices’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

As per reports, India, who was appointed to chair the regional grouping in September 2022, has sent the invitations to Bhutto and Bandial through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

The invites come as a surprise to many as bilateral ties between the two subcontinental neighbors are going through a rough patch in recent times.

India is set to host key ministerial meeting summit in Goa in the first week of May of the nine-member Asian grouping which also consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and its new member Iran, which will attend its first SCO meeting as a full member.

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The last meeting of the SCO was held in Samarkand in Uzbekistan.

Pakistan has yet to respond to the invite and if Bilawal Bhutto accepts, it will be the first such visit from a Pakistani foreign minister in nearly a decade since Hina Rabbani Khar paid a visit to India in 2011.

India-Pakistan ties have been at an all-time low since 2019 when the Centre abolished Article 370 which formerly bestowed special status upon the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Islamabad is seeking its restoration and considers the Kashmir issue, a burning point between the two nations.

Making matters worse, last month, Bilawal Bhutto sparked a row when he called PM Modi the “butcher of Gujarat”.

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