New U.S. sanctions against Iran took effect on Tuesday, and President Donald Trump, who defied Washington’s allies to impose them, pledged that firms doing business with Tehran would be barred from doing business with the U.S.
Iran dismissed a last-minute offer from the Trump administration for talks, saying it could not negotiate while Washington had reneged on a 2015 deal to lift sanctions in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Trump decided this year to pull out of the agreement, ignoring pleas from other world powers that had co-sponsored the deal, including Washington’s main European allies Britain, France and Germany, Russia and China.
The European countries have promised to try to mitigate the impact of renewed U.S. sanctions to persuade Tehran to continue to abide by the deal’s terms.
However, that has proven difficult: European companies have pulled out of Iran, arguing that they cannot risk the prospect of damage to their U.S. business.
“These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level.
“Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Monday Iran’s only chance of escaping sanctions would be to take up an offer to negotiate with Trump for a tougher deal.
“They could take up the president’s offer to negotiate with them, to give up their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes fully and really verifiably,” Bolton told Fox News.
“If the ayatollahs want to get out from under the squeeze, they should come and sit down. The pressure will not relent while the negotiations go on,” said Bolton, one of the administration’s main hawks on Iran.
Washington accepts that Iran has complied with the terms of the 2015 deal reached under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, but says the agreement was flawed because it is not strenuous enough.
Iran says it will continue to abide by the deal for now, if other countries can help protect it from the economic impact of Washington’s decision to pull out.
The so-called snapback sanctions target Iranian purchases of U.S. dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector.
In a speech hours before the sanctions were due to take effect, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani rejected any negotiations as long as Washington was no longer complying with the deal it reached three years ago.
“If you stab someone with a knife and then you say you want talks, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television.
“We are always in favor of diplomacy and talks. … But talks need honesty,” Rouhani said.
He dismissed the proposal for talks as a stunt to sow chaos in Iran and confuse American voters at home ahead of mid-term elections in November.
He said Washington was becoming isolated internationally and would come to regret imposing sanctions against the views of its allies and other world powers.
The nuclear deal is closely associated in Iran with Rouhani, a relative moderate who won two landslide elections on promises to open up its economy to the outside world.
European countries fear that by abandoning the deal, Washington risks undermining Rouhani and strengthening the hand of his more hardline opponents, who have long argued that the West would never allow Iran to prosper.
In a joint statement on Monday from Britain, France, Germany and the EU as a bloc, they said: “We deeply regret the reimposition of sanctions by the U.S.”
Since the sanctions were initially lifted two years ago, Iranian oil exports have risen.
Meanwhile, most Iranians are yet to see major economic improvement as a result of the deal and the prospect that Washington would re-impose sanctions helped drive a collapse in the value of Iran’s currency this year, raising the cost of imports.
There have been protests in Iran against rising prices, and the government has responded firmly.
JUST IN: DSS Arrests EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu
The Department of State Services (DSS) has arrested Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
It was that DSS operatives arrived the EFCC headquarters in Abuja Monday afternoon and quietly whisked him away without creating any scene.
His arrest comes a few days after Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), accused the anti-graft czar of gross infractions.
The AGF asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Magu over some “weighty” allegations, including the diversion of recovered loot.
In addition to allegedly re-looting the recovered loot, Malami accused the acting EFCC chairman of insubordination and misconduct.
It was also learnt that the EFCC chief travelled to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates without the authorisation of the president during the COVID-19 lockdown.
And when he was questioned, he said he went for an investigation.
He is also alleged to be living above his means.
In 2016, the senate declined to confirm the appointment of Magu as EFCC chairman after a DSS report indicted him of corruption.
The report read: “Magu is currently occupying a residence rented for N40m at N20m per annum. This accommodation was not paid [for] from the commission’s finances, but by one Umar Mohammed, air commodore retired, a questionable businessman who has subsequently been arrested by the secret service.
“For the furnishing of the residence, Magu enlisted the Federal Capital Development Authority to award a contract to Africa Energy, a company owned by the same Mohammed, to furnish the residence at the cost of N43m.”
Hushpuppi Reportedly Hires Micheal Jackson’s Former Lawyer, Mark Geragos
Arrested Nigerian suspected fraudster, Ray Hushpuppi has reportedly hired Mark Geragos, a former lawyer to the late Micheal Jackson.
The popular attorney who has been involved in high profile cases of this nature, has in the past represented celebrities like Winona Ryder, Chris Brown, Colin Kaepernick and Scott Peterson.
Reacting to the report, Nigerian producer Samklef who confirmed that Mark Geragos was hired by Hushpuppi, wrote that the suspect might not even spend much time in jail.
“This movie go sweet pass Netflix… he might not even spend all his time.. he will work with the government and regain his freedom,” he wrote on social media.
Ramon Olorunwa Abbas appeared in a federal court in Chicago on Friday. He is accused of conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through cybercrime schemes.
According to a federal affidavit, one of the alleged victims was the client of a New York-based law firm that lost nearly a million dollars in 2019.
Abbas was arrested last month by law enforcement officials in the United Arab Emirates and transferred to the US this week by the FBI.
Prosecutors allege Abbas is one of the leaders of a global network that uses computer intrusions, business email compromise (BEC) schemes and money laundering capers to steal hundreds of millions of dollars.
PHOTOS: Check Out The Chicago Prison Where Hushpuppi Is Currently Being Held
Alleged international fraudster, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi is presently being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, U.S..
Recall that Hushpuppi who was nabbed in Dubai last month, and extradited to the United States of America, appeared in court last Friday in Chicago for the first time.
According to a complaint on the U.S. Government’s Department of Justice’s website, Hushpuppi who arrived in Chicago on Thursday evening after being expelled from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is expected to be transferred to Los Angeles in the coming weeks.
According to the the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, Hushpuppi is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Chicago.
Check out photos of the prison he is currently in;
If convicted of money laundering, he would face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
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