News Briefing

The Week So far – Petulant Trump threatens EU Iran deals

Billions of dollars of trade and EU jobs hang in the balance after Trump bails out from Iran nuke deal

Billions of dollars of trade and EU jobs hang in the balance after Trump bails out from Iran nuke deal

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Petulant Trump threatens EU Iran deals

A transatlantic rift is opening up between America and Europe after US President Donald Trump scuppered the Iranian nuclear deal.

EU politicians and industry chiefs are trying to find ways to maintain the multi billion dollar business deals with Iran while avoiding the threat of US penalties and sanctions.

Washington says it is re-imposing strict sanctions which were lifted under the 2015 international deal to control the country’s nuclear ambitions secured by the Barak Obama Administration. Earlier this week Trump rubbished the deal pulling the US from it to the dismay of European leaders.

Since the deal took effect in 2016 a stampede of major European firms headed to Tehran to do business with Iran but now the future looks uncertain, and thousands of jobs are at risk, as some companies fear their business ties with the US could be jeopardised if they continue to deal with Iran.

Some companies used an EU “blocking statute” to continue trading with communist Cuba at the height of US sanctions there and commercial lawyers are now looking to see if the statute could be applicable to Tehran trade.

France, Germany and the UK all say they remain committed to the nuclear deal with Iran and to expanding business ties, provided Iran sticks to its commitments.

Contracts at risk include a french deal worth five billion dollars to assist Iran in developing the world’s largest gas field, a Norwegian company has signed a three billion dollar deal to build solar power plants and Italian rail company FS has signed a one and a half billion dollar deal to build a high speed link between Qom and Arak. The French company Renault has ambitions to make 350,000 cars a year in Iran while the German Siemens wants to upgrade the rail network and re-equip 50 locomotives.

The big question now is will the Europeans ignore Trump, a president whose petulance knows no limits as those who follow his Twitter account can testify?


 

People power victory for Grenfell residents

When the people lead then leaders must follow or become irrelevant and so it was that Prime Minister Theresa May bowed to pressure from the heroic Grenfell Tower residents who’ve been put through hell because of corporate greed, heard-hearted council chiefs and insensitive housing officers.

May has finally agreed that two experts will sit with the judge investigating the blaze after calls for a diverse panel to oversee proceedings in a 156,000-signature petition. She had earlier rejected calls for a panel to investigate the west London on 14 June last year in which 71 people perished.

Judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s inquiry will start taking evidence later this month from firefighters, survivors and expert witnesses but the new ‘peoples panel’ will join the second phase scheduled for the end of the year.

Areas to be scrutinised will include the actions and reactions of those responsible for safety, including Kensington and Chelsea Council.


Twit of the week

Kanji Kato, an MP from Japan’s governing party, reckons young Japanese women should have at least three children or face being a burden on the state. This blatant sexism and crass stupidity qualifies him for Twit of the week … I’m not sure if he tweeted this nonsense but his comments were picked up by a local newspaper. he’s now retracted his statement – too little, too late, mate! We’ve got your number.


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