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US reviewing India’s decisions over import of Iranian oil, Russian air defence system: State Department

Smita Sahu

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Washington | The US is reviewing “very carefully” India’s decision to continue buying Iranian oil and purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system, a top official has said, terming it “not helpful”, days after President Donald Trump observed that New Delhi would soon find out if it faced punitive measures.

The US is trying to cut off all oil imports from Iran to zero by November 4 following Trump’s decision in May to pull out of the 2015 multilateral deal that eased global sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s suspected nuclear programmes and malign activities.

Responding to questions on reports that India will continue to purchase oil from Iran after November 4, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said this was “not helpful”.

India’s Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday said that two state refiners have placed orders for importing crude oil from Iran in November.

“Overall with regard to those sanctions that will take effect on November 4th – and you’re referring to the oil sanctions for Iran and countries that choose to continue purchasing oil from Iran – we have conversations with many partners and allies around the world about those sanctions,” Nauert said on Thursday.

“We make our policies very clear to those countries. We continue to have conversations with the government of Iraq about that particular issue and the implications for the reimposition of sanctions that were previously lifted or even waived under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” she said.

The Trump administration has given the same message to all countries around the world, and the president has said that the US is committed to re-enforcing all of its sanctions.

“We believe that countries coming together and recognising the malign influence that Iran has had around the world is important. We know that Iran and the government of Iran has taken the benefits that it received under the JCPOA and they’ve poured that money not into their own population, not into the good of the people, not into its medical hospitals and things of that nature, but rather they’ve used it for its own nefarious programmes,” Nauert said.

Noting that she has seen reports of India continuing to buy oil from Iran after November 4, she said this was a topic of conversation with the Indian government when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in India last month for the first 2+2 Dialogue.

“The President had addressed it – I believe it was just earlier today – which he was asked about that question about whether or not India would buy oil from Iran after sanctions are reimposed. And the President said – and I’m not going to get ahead of the President, certainly – but he said we’ll take care of that,” she said.

On the implication of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA on India after it inked the USD 5 billion deal with Russia to purchase the S-400 Triumf air defence system, Nauert said, “He (the president) was asked also about CAATSA sanctions and possible imposition of CAATSA sanctions. And he said, you know, India is going to find out.

“And India will find out. We’ll see. So I’m not going to get ahead of him, but certainly when we hear about things such as purchasing oil or the S-400 systems, it’s not helpful. The United States government just reviews that very carefully,” Nauert said.

The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA is a US federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia.

In Russia’s case, the act primarily deals with sanctions on Russian interests such as its oil and gas industry, defence and security sector, and financial institutions, in the backdrop of its military intervention in Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections.

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Tremendous efforts made to catch absconding former minister: Bihar DGP

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Manju Verma

Patna | Under fire from the Supreme Court over its inability to arrest absconding former minister Manju Verma, the Bihar Police on Friday asserted that it was making tremendous efforts to nab the suspended Janata Dal (United) leader.

The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the state police for failing to arrest Verma in connection with an Arms Act case, which cropped up in course of the CBI probe into the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal. It directed Director General of Police K S Dwivedi to appear before it in person on November 27 if she was not nabbed by then.

In reply to a query, the DGP said Friday attempts were being made to secure her arrest. “We are making tremendous efforts.” Dwivedi said no time-frame could be given for the arrest of any person wanted in a criminal case. “Though we appreciate the concern expressed by the Supreme Court, we hope to trace her very soon.”

The officer said some objection was raised from Verma’s side before a court in Begusarai district when they tried to initiate proceedings for attaching her property. “We are working to get that resolved,” he added. The former minister had last week moved an application before the Begusarai court, through her lawyer, pleading that she not be treated as an absconder as she was not evading arrest, but trying to seek relief as per law.

Verma had stepped down as the minister for social welfare in August, following reports that her husband, Chandrashekhar Verma, had close links with Brajesh Thakur , the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal.

During a raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at her in-laws’ residence in Begusarai, a huge quantity of ammunition was recovered, following which the agency lodged an FIR against the couple. The former ministers’ pleas for anticipatory bail have been rejected by the lower court as well as the Patna High Court. Her husband surrendered before a Begusarai court last month after several weeks of dodging the police.

An embarrassed JD(U), headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said Thursday it had suspended her from the primary membership of the party. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Hindustani Awam Morcha have accused the ruling party of shielding the absconding two-time MLA.

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Sabarimala row : Police have asked me to return to Pune: Trupti Desai

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Kochi | Amid over a 12-hour stand-off with devotees and others, including BJP workers, at the airport here vowing not to let her proceed to the Sabarimala shrine, activist Trupti Desai said police have asked her to return to Pune. The development comes even as the doors to the Lord Ayyappa temple opened for the “Mandala Makkaravillakku” puja.

The activist, who reached here around 4.40 am along with six young women en route to the hill temple, has been unable to come out of the airport, with the protesters saying her group would not be allowed to proceed to the Sabarimala temple. Desai said police officers held a meeting with her. “Police have requested me to return to Pune,” she told reporters. Desai said she will announce her decision by 6.30 pm.

Protesting local BJP leaders at the airport said the devotees, including women, would not let Desai and her colleagues to come out of the airport and proceed to Sabarimala temple. They alleged that Desai and her team came here to violate the centuries-old custom of the temple that prevented entry of women and girls in the age group of 10 and 50. Talking to the media over the phone, Desai earlier said she would not go back without darshan at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

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#Watch: “Swamiye Ayyappa” chants echo outside Cochin airport as Trupti Desai waits inside

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The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Trupti Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”. 

 

Cochin| The crowd of protesters outside the Cochin airport is swelling since the morning to oppose the activist Trupti Desai from entering Sabarimala. The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”.

On the other hand, Trupti Desai vowed to not go back without the Darshan of Lord Ayyappa at the Sabarimala Temple. However, several Hindu organizations have indicated at statewide protests if she tries to enter the hill shrine.

Currently, Desai along with a group of women activists accompanying her is waiting at the Cochin airport. The stalment has continued since morning. The Kerala police tried to take her out safely through cargo area but it failed as the protesters caught a wind of the move.

Watch: Devotees chant “Swamiye Ayyappa” outside Cochin airport during the protest.

 

Watch: Activist Trupti Desai waits at the Cochin airport

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