TEHRAN, Iran — A decade-long U.N. arms embargo on Iran that barred it from purchasing foreign weapons like tanks and fighter jets expired Sunday as planned under its nuclear deal with world powers, despite objections from the United States, which insists the ban remains in place. While Iran says it plans no “buying spree,” it can now in theory purchase weapons to upgrade military armaments dating back to before its 1979 Islamic Revolution and sell its own locally produced gear abroad. In practice, however, Iran’s economy remains crippled by broad-reaching U.S. sanctions, and other nations may avoid arms deals with Tehran for fear of American financial retaliation. The Trump administration has warned that any sales of weapons to Iran or exports from Iran will be penalized. The Islamic Republic heralded the end of the arms embargo as “a momentous day for the international community … in defiance of the U.S. regime’s effort.” The Trump administration, meanwhile, says the expiration is moot since it reimposed all U.N. sanctions on Iran, including the arms embargo, via a clause in the nuclear deal Trump withdrew from in 2018, a claim ignored by the rest of the world. “Today’s normalization of Iran’s defense cooperation with the world is a win for the cause of multilateralism and peace and security in our region,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flatly rejected the expiration. “The United States is prepared to use its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or entity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran, as well as those wto ho provide technical training, financial support and services, and other assistance related to these arms,” he said in a statement. “For the past 10 years, countries have refrained from selling weapons to Iran under various U.N. measures,” Pompeo said. “Any country that now challenges this prohibition will be very clearly choosing to fuel conflict and tension over promoting peace and security.” Sign up for our Early Bird Brief Get the defense industry’s most comprehensive news and information straight to your inbox Subscribe Enter a valid email address (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Thanks for signing up! × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky, responded to Pompeo with a tweet urging the U.S. to help Middle East peace by not provoking Iran. “And please change words ‘sanctions’ and ‘punishment’ in your vocabulary to ‘dialogue’ and ‘engagement’. That would help a lot! Make US respected again!”, he added. Sunday’s expiration of the arms embargo was, in fact, the proximate cause for the U.S. decision last month to move forward with the so-called “snapback” of international sanctions in Iran. The Americans tried unsuccessfully to get the U.N. Security Council to extend the embargo but suffered a humiliating defeat when only one country on the 15-member panel supported it. In response, the administration announced that it had invoked “snapback” — a mechanism provided for in the Security Council resolution that enshrined the nuclear deal that allows any participant in the accord to restore U.N. sanctions if they determine Iran is not complying with its terms. The rest of the council, however, rejected U.S. standing to trigger snapback, saying it had lost its right to do so when Trump pulled our of the deal. The United Nations banned Iran from buying major foreign weapon systems in 2010 amid tensions over its nuclear program. An earlier embargo targeted Iranian arms exports. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency predicted in 2019 that if the embargo ended, Iran likely would try to purchase Russian Su-30 fighter jets, Yak-130 trainer aircraft and T-90 tanks. Tehran also may try to buy Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system and its Bastian coastal defense missile system, the DIA said. China also could sell Iran arms. A Russian Yakovlev Yak-130 trainer sits on the flight line at Dubai Airshow on Nov. 19, 2019. (Staff) Iran long has been outmatched by U.S.-backed Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have purchased billions of dollars of advanced American weaponry. In response, Tehran turned toward developing locally made ballistic missiles. Iran has blasted Gulf Arab purchases of U.S.-made defense equipment as “regrettably lucrative weapon deals” with some of those arms used in the ongoing war in Yemen. That conflict pits a Saudi-led coalition backing the country’s internationally recognized government against rebel forces backed by Iran. The U.N. arms embargoes, however, did not stop Iran from sending weapons ranging from assault rifles to ballistic missiles to Yemen’s Houthi rebels. While Tehran denies arming the Houthis, Western governments and weapons experts repeatedly have linked Iranian arms to the rebels. Six Gulf Arab nations that backed the extension of the arms embargoes noted arms shipments to Yemen in their objection to the resumption of any weapon sales to Iran. They also mentioned in a letter to the U.N. Security Council that Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane in January and its navy accidentally killed 19 of its own sailors in a missile strike during an exercise. The U.N. also linked Iran to a 2019 attack on Saudi Arabia’s main crude oil refinery, though Tehran denies any links and Yemen’s rebel Houthis claimed responsibility. Sunday also marked the end of U.N. travel bans on a number of Iranian military and paramilitary Revolutionary Guard members. Tensions between Iran and the U.S. reached fever pitch at the start of the year, when an American drone killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad. Tehran retaliated with a ballistic missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq that injured dozens. Meanwhile, Iran has steadily broken limits of the nuclear deal in an attempt to pressure Europe at salvaging the accord. In recent months, provocations on both sides have slowed as President Donald Trump faces a re-election campaign against former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden has said he’s willing to offer Iran “a credible path back to diplomacy” if Tehran returns to “strict compliance” with the deal. Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.
Formula E to electrify Saudi streets with Diriyah night race
LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah track will host Formula E’s first all-electric night race as part of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship calendar. Always focused on innovative, sustainable solutions, Formula E will light the track with low consumption LED technology powered by fully renewable energy. Formula E confirmed that the all-electric ABB FIA Formula E World…
LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah track will host Formula E’s first all-electric night race as part of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship calendar. Always focused on innovative, sustainable solutions, Formula E will light the track with low consumption LED technology powered by fully renewable energy.
Formula E confirmed that the all-electric ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will literally light up the streets of Diriyah as it returns to the historic desert surroundings of the UNESCO World Heritage site for the third year in a row.
Set for a spectacular double header in the dark, the first sport to have net zero carbon since inception will once again use its platform to share a positively charged call-to-action, reminding fans that even the most intense and unpredictable racing can take place without the environment paying the price.
Lighting the track with the latest low consumption LED technology will reduce energy consumption by up to fifty percent compared to non-LED technologies. The remaining energy needed to power the floodlighting will be fully renewable provided by high performing low-carbon certified hydrogenated vegetable oil made from sustainable materials.
With a founding purpose to counteract climate change, Formula E’s commitment to deliver better futures through racing drives its ongoing environmental, economic and social sustainability initiatives around the world.
Saudi Arabia is the perfect partner on this mission, as it embraces its own sustainability journey as part of Vision 2030. The Diriyah E-Prix will run at 17:00 GMT (20:00 local time) on February 26 and 27. It follows the debut of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Santiago, Chile with two races on January 16 and 17.
Alberto Longo, co-founder and Chief Championship Officer of Formula E, said: “We are very proud to partner with Saudi to create Formula E’s first ever night race. I am confident the race will be spectacular and lead to a style of competitive action we haven’t seen before. As with everything we do, our first thought was about how to bring our sporting vision to life in a sustainable way. Before we innovate our racing product we must be confident we can maintain the standards of sustainable practice we hold ourselves accountable to.”
Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, the Minister of Sport added: “In 2018 the ancient historical city of Diriyah made history in hosting the first fully-electric race on the streets of the region. The debut event sparked so much joy and energy to our sporting journey and was one of a number of major sporting firsts that have since inspired our people and helped to shine a spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s massive transformation under the Kingdom’s vision 2030.
“In 2019 Diryah was the first to host back to back races during a race weekend and now once again we will make sporting history. It is very fitting that a place so ancient will showcase the latest in sustainable technology as Diriyah lights up to shine bright for the world to see. We look forward to the dramatic racing and incredible scenes that are guaranteed to unfold under the lights.”
Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, said: “The inaugural Diriyah E-Prix was the Kingdom’s first major international event, last year it became the Middle East’s first double-header and in February, it will be the first ever night race for the all-electric ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, we’re really proud of this. Saudi Arabia is on a journey of embracing renewable energy and technology, and Formula E is more than just a race to be the best, it’s a partnership committed to the future of sustainable technology.”
Carlo Boutagy, CEO of CBX the official promoter, said: “With the circular economy being a key pillar of Vision 2030, we are thrilled to be quite literally shining a light on sustainability through hosting Formula E’s first ever night race. As a promoter, the fan experience is at the forefront of our event and we always aim to raise the bar year-on-year, and we have no doubt that the Diriyah E-Prix will be a spectacle unlike any other.”
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Cairo International Book Fair postponed due to COVID-19
CAIRO: The second Egyptian Aragouz Festival has opened on Nov. 24, at the ancient Bayt Al-Sinnari, in Cairo. The aragouz is a traditional puppet figure dressed in red invented by Egyptians to ridicule situations comically. Khaled Bahgat, a professor of theater at Helwan University and the founder of the festival and the Wamda Troupe for Aragouz…
CAIRO: The second Egyptian Aragouz Festival has opened on Nov. 24, at the ancient Bayt Al-Sinnari, in Cairo. The aragouz is a traditional puppet figure dressed in red invented by Egyptians to ridicule situations comically.
Khaled Bahgat, a professor of theater at Helwan University and the founder of the festival and the Wamda Troupe for Aragouz and Shadow Puppets, said the festival is part of the initiative to preserve the Egyptian aragouz, after it was recognized by UNESCO in 2018 as one of the most important Egyptian artistic elements. He said that he wants the Egyptian art of aragouz to reach the world because it is an ancient Egyptian art.
The festival this year sheds light on the creative icons that inspired the aragouz.
The festival opened with a tribute to the great Egyptian creator Abu Al-Saud Al-Abyari in a reading of his story “Aragouz, Author and Idea,” which he published in 1953. Al-Aragouz was an important source of creativity for Al-Abyari.
The reading was followed by entries exploring how the art of aragouz shaped Egyptian comedy in the twentieth century.
The day closed with puppet performances of “The social media aragouz,” which reflected the impact of social media, directed by Ali Abu Zeid, and “The aragouz in the city,” directed by Nabil Bahgat.
On the second day, Reem Heggab will honor her father the late Egyptian poet Said Heggab, reciting one of his poems on the aragouz. This will be followed by two aragouz shows, “The Take Away,” directed by Mahmoud Sayed Hanafi, and “Aragouz, the Land of Myths.”
On Thursday, the theater department of the University of Alexandria will celebrate the aragouz with a lecture by Hany Abou El-Hassan, the head of the department, a workshop and a performance titled “Lorca and the aragouz,” directed by Nabil Bahgat and presented by the Wamda Troupe.
The performance honors the creativity of the Spanish poet and innovator Federico García Lorca, and will be held in the presence of the Spanish cultural attache.
The fourth day of the festival will honor the poet Fouad Haddad, whose son Amin Haddad will recite several poems from his father’s book of poetry entitiled Al-Aragouz. The poetry reading will be followed by a discussion.
Then there will be performances of “Aragouz Al Sima,” directed by Mustafa Al-Sabbagh, and “Al-Aragouz in Danger,” which deals with the greatest challenges facing the art of aragouz.
On the last day, the Faculty of Arts at Helwan University and the Department of Theater Sciences’ troupe will hold an open seminar with the department’s students to discuss ways to preserve the Egyptian aragouz.
Tesco accused of racism with Romanian anti-shoplifting posters
London, United Kingdom – Tesco, the UK’s biggest retailer, has drawn accusations of racial profiling and fuelling discrimination after displaying anti-shoplifting signs in Romanian. The development came to light this week after a Romanian woman in the UK shared an image of the posters in a Tesco supermarket on social media. Her post was subsequently…
London, United Kingdom – Tesco, the UK’s biggest retailer, has drawn accusations of racial profiling and fuelling discrimination after displaying anti-shoplifting signs in Romanian.
The development came to light this week after a Romanian woman in the UK shared an image of the posters in a Tesco supermarket on social media. Her post was subsequently picked up by Romanian media.
The signs at Tesco’s Telford branch, in the English Midlands, warned would-be Romanian thieves of prosecution.
They were used in 2019 and produced by the local West Mercia police department.
“Hoții din magazine prinși for fi urmăriți penal” (Shoplifters caught will be prosecuted) said the posters, which were placed along aisles with expensive items, such as alcohol.
Romanian officials, individuals and writers say by using the Romanian language, the posters singled out Romanians and were evidence of a prejudicial attitude towards the diaspora.
“Tesco has used a heavy-handed and discriminatory approach that not only will not discourage shoplifters but also offend the majority of law-abiding and well-integrated Romanians living in the UK,” Alexandra Bulat, the chair of Young Europeans, part of the EU citizens’ rights organisation the3million, told Al Jazeera.
“Many of them will be customers of the chain – I am one of them. EU citizens living in the UK are no more likely to commit a crime than British citizens.”
Did anyone find these posters translated in the other minority languages of the UK? Or did @Tesco just opt for the “language of thieves”? #Romanianhttps://t.co/tPlGoX4tqa
— Oana Gurau (@OanaGurau) November 24, 2020
Some 590,100 Romanians have applied to remain in the UK after the Brexit transition period ends, according to government data.
Writer Vasile Ernu, in a column for the Romanian daily newspaper Libertatea, said: “The idea that ‘the Romanian is a thief’ is programmatically induced in the masses. That is, to be Romanian means to be a criminal.
“This phenomenon is a very serious matter. Terrible violence has taken place in history around these phenomena.”
In a statement to Al Jazeera, a Tesco spokesperson said: “We have had some cases of shoplifting at our Telford Extra Store so the local police provided us with some posters advising that all shoplifters will be prosecuted. We’re sorry if these posters caused any offence – they have now been removed.”
The West Mercia police department, which produced the campaign, said: “These posters … were made available to businesses in the languages most frequently spoken within their communities”, as it claimed the signs were also made in English.
Many people on social media, in the UK and Romania, criticised the campaign.
“Did anyone find these posters translated in the other minority languages of the UK? Or did @Tesco just opt for the “language of thieves”?” tweeted Oana Gurau, a clinical neurosciences researcher at the University of Oxford.
Antonia Oprita, a London-based editor, tweeted: “@Tesco I have not heard back from you on this, I asked you to apologise to #Romanians for doing this. As a Romanian myself, I can tell you this is profoundly #racist. Why are you carrying out such a campaign in your stores?”
Twitter user @EduardChilcos wrote: “@Tesco is there a particular reason for posting this message in Romanian in one of your stores? Your racism is absolutely despicable.”
Subject to stereotypes
Romanians in the UK have often been stereotyped and baselessly maligned by the far right as taking employment opportunities from the British people.
In 2014 Nigel Farage, a leading Brexit campaigner and far-right figure in the UK, said people would be “concerned” if a group of Romanian men “moved in next door”.
The 2016 pro-Brexit referendum unleashed a wave of hateful attacks on Eastern European expatriates.
Romanians are the second-biggest immigrant community in the UK, with many working long hours in British supermarkets, farms and hotels.
Regarding the posters, in a statement to the Romanian daily newspaper Adevărul, the Romanian foreign ministry said it “disapproves of this type of discriminatory message”.
They do not “reflect the real image of the Romanian community in Great Britain, which is well integrated and which makes a real contribution to the development of British society and economy”, the foreign ministry added.