Slamming US sanctions
Iran has reiterated that talks in Vienna between the Islamic Republic and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal are simply aimed at bringing the United States back to full compliance with the accord. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the comment as he met his German counterpart Heiko Maas in New York City on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Amir-Abdollahian said the US should know that all trade-offs have already been made in the course of negotiations that led to the multilateral pact. He added that the Vienna talks are not meant to strike a new nuclear deal; rather they seek to ensure a guaranteed return of the US to the agreement after its unilateral pullout in 2018. Amir-Abdollahian also met EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. He told Borrell that the administration of US President Joe Biden is following in its predecessor’s footsteps by keeping sanctions on Iran in place. The top diplomat slammed the US policy as non-constructive.
US migration crisis
The administration of US President Joe Biden is facing criticism both at home and abroad over its handling of migrants massing along the Mexican border. Republicans have cited lax security while Democrats expressed concern about the humanitarian situation at the border. Some 14,000 asylum seekers, majority of them from Haiti, have been camping under a bridge in Texas since last week. Several hundred have already been deported to Haiti and thousands more have been moved into detention. The move has sparked criticism, with several UN agencies calling for an end to the mass expulsion of migrants. In a statement, the UN refugee chief said he was shocked by images of the deplorable conditions of migrants. Filippo Grandi said expulsions of individuals are inconsistent with international norms. Earlier, the UN Human Rights Office also voiced concern over the plight of asylum seekers.
Muslim pilgrims are streaming into Iraq’s holy city of Karbala ahead of the Day of Arba’een. The pilgrims are joining the annual gathering that marks the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (Peace upon Him). This year, Arba’een falls on September 28th. The event has drawn millions of people in the past years. But the Iraqi government has restricted the number of foreign visitors since last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Imam Hussein (AS) and dozens of his companions were martyred in an unequal battle with troops of the tyrant ruler of their time over 13 centuries ago. The battle, known as the Ashura event, is one of the most important religious occasions marked by Muslims.