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OIL AND GAS
Yemen missile fired at Saudi Arabia may be Iran-made: UN experts
By Carole LANDRY
United Nations, United States (AFP) Dec 1, 2017


US threat to Iran nuclear deal risks backfiring: Russia
Rome (AFP) Dec 1, 2017 - President Donald Trump's threat to pull the US from a landmark nuclear deal reached with Iran in 2015 risks seriously undermining negotiations with countries like North Korea, Russia said Friday.

"If the US drops out of the deal now, it won't be very credible in the eyes of those we want to drop nuclear programmes, like North Korea," Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov said.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was agreed two years ago between Iran and six powers, including the United States, under then-president Barack Obama.

But his successor, who came to power in January, has labelled the agreement too lenient on Iran and accuses the country of violating it, calling for a renegotiation.

"What kind of example is the leader of North Korea getting?

"He will say, 'even if they give me a deal, what happens when the next president comes to the White House'?" Lavrov said at a conference in the Italian capital.

"I hope there will be no breach of the deal by anyone," he added.

A UN watchdog report in November said Iran remains in compliance with the deal.

Trump has left the accord's fate up to Republican-controlled Congress, giving it 60 days -- which run out in mid-December -- to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on the Islamic republic.

"The deal is there, Iran is in compliance, it's part of international law, full stop," Lavrov said.

"If it ain't broke don't fix it," he added.

The Russian is not the first to suggest Trump's wavering on the Iran deal could backfire.

French President Emmanuel Macron warned last month that "if you want to stop any relation with Iran regarding nuclear activity, you will create a new North Korea".

UN experts who traveled to Saudi Arabia to inspect fragments of a missile fired from Yemen last month have found a possible link to an Iranian manufacturer, according to a confidential document seen by AFP on Friday.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying weapons to Yemen's Huthi rebels who fired a missile intercepted near Riyadh airport on November 4.

Weapons supplies to the Huthis would be in violation of a UN arms embargo on Yemen and of a ban on weapons sales by Iran.

The UN panel of experts traveled to Riyadh last month to inspect the components of missiles fired in May, July and more recently on November 4 and reported to the Security Council on their findings.

The panel wrote that a component recovered from the impact point of the November 4 missile attack was "marked with a logo similar to that of the Sahid Begheri Industrial Group" which is "a subsidiary of the Iranian Aerospace Industries Organization."

In a letter sent to Iran on November 24, the panel requested information on the individuals and companies to which the Sahid Begheri Industrial Group exported the missile component.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley last month called for international action against Iran over the missile attacks from Yemen against Saudi Arabia, which Riyadh has described as a "direct aggression".

Haley cited information supplied by Saudi Arabia showing that a missile fired in July was an Iranian Qiam and that this weapon was not present in Yemen before the conflict.

Iran has repeatedly denied that it is supplying the Huthis with arms.

Earlier this week, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi denied that Iran has "any military connection with Yemen", although Tehran says it supports the Shiite Huthis politically.

The coalition imposed a blockade of Yemen's air and sea ports and borders after the missile was fired at Riyadh, citing concerns that weapons were being smuggled into Yemen.

While the coalition has eased the blockade to allow some deliveries of humanitarian aid, the United Nations maintains that it needs full access to deliver lifesaving food, medicine and fuel.

The UN has warned that unless the blockade is lifted, Yemen will face "the largest famine the world has seen for decades".

Some supplies have been allowed by the coalition to reach rebel-held Sanaa and the Saleef Red Sea port, also in Huthi hands.

But little aid has entered through the port of Hodeida, the main conduit for UN-supervised deliveries of food and medicine.

The Saudi-led Arab military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after the Huthis forced him into exile.

Coalition air strikes have faced repeated international criticism over civilian casualties.

OIL AND GAS
Oil producers agree extension of output curbs: Iraq
Vienna (AFP) Nov 30, 2017
Oil producer nations agreed Thursday to keep production curbs in place for another nine months until the end of 2018, Iraq's oil minister said after talks in Vienna. The extension by 24 nations "is nine months" from March 31 until the end of 2018, Jabbar al-Luaibi told reporters after talks in Vienna. The producers were expected to confirm the agreement at a news conference shortly. ... read more

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