A well-known ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a Turkish banker, arrived in the United States earlier this week to speak to investors about new dollar bonds that his (state) bank is planning to sell.
However, Atilla was arrested on Monday by US authorities in New York at the John F. Kennedy International Airport and was charged with colluding to violate sanctions. He is said to have teamed up with Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab and they had plans to carry out illegal transactions that would direct hundreds of millions of dollars from the US to the Iranian government.
The al-Arab daily published a piece titled, “Iraqi Prime Minister in Washington announces plan to limit the Popular Mobilization Units.”
In a clear message Haider al-Abadi emphasized on his determination to join the U.S. option aimed at annihilating Iran’s control over Iraq and supporting steps to tighten relations with Saudi Arabia. The Iraqi Foreign Minister’s meeting with his Saudi counterpart in Washington is a reference in this regard.
Last week, House and Senate lawmakers revealed details about new sanctions legislation in the biggest effort to crackdown on Iran for several years. The legislation has bipartisan support and imposes mandatory sanctions on the country’s ballistic missile program. It also enforces existing legislation banning the sale of weapons to Iran.
The legislation was announced just in time for the 2017 AIPAC policy conference which has just started in Washington.
It has been reported recently that there are some members of President Obama’s policy team in the State Department still working for the Trump administration. The two Presidents have very differing views when it comes to foreign policy, especially with regards to Iran and the Iran nuclear deal. Obama adopted an appeasement strategy whereas Trump is dealing with the country harshly and with firm rhetoric.
On 19th May this year the Iranian presidential elections will take place. On the same day, the elections for local councils will take place too. However, in the latest of actions that prove the elections are a “sham”, and before the registration for candidates has even opened, Iranian authorities have arrested a number of journalists.
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