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Apple CEO Warns Trump About China Tariffs, Samsung Competition

August 19, 2019 by · Comments Off on Apple CEO Warns Trump About China Tariffs, Samsung Competition 

VOA – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he has spoken with Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook about the impact of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports as well as competition from South Korean company Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. Trump said Cook “made a good case” that tariffs could hurt Apple given that Samsung’s products would not be subject to those same tariffs. Tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, including consumer electronics, are scheduled to go into effect in two stages on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15. “I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I’m thinking about it,” Trump said.

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US Says It Has Warrant to Seize Iranian Oil Tanker

August 17, 2019 by · Comments Off on US Says It Has Warrant to Seize Iranian Oil Tanker 

VOA Persian’s Katherine Ahn contributed to this report. The U.S. government said Friday that it had a warrant to seize an Iranian supertanker caught in a diplomatic standoff off the coast of the British overseas territory Gibraltar.  A court document released Friday by the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington showed the court had issued the warrant to seize the vessel.  The United States is seeking to take control of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1, along with the oil it carries and $995,000, on the ground on that the ship has links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization. The Supreme Court in Gibraltar ruled Thursday that the tanker could be released from detention, shortly after the United States launched a last-minute legal bid to hold it.  However, despite the ruling, the tanker remained off the coast of Gibraltar on Friday. And a lawyer for the ship’s Indian captain told the Associated Press that the captain no longer wanted to maintain command of the vessel.

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Government Lawyer: US Asks Gibraltar to Hold Iranian Tanker in Detention

August 15, 2019 by · Comments Off on Government Lawyer: US Asks Gibraltar to Hold Iranian Tanker in Detention 

VOA – The British overseas territory’s Supreme Court was set to release the Grace 1, which is suspected of smuggling oil to Syria, when the US Justice department applied for the vessel to be seized. The move was announced by attorney Joseph Triay and delayed the court decision on the vessel’s fate. Triay did not detail the basis for the US request other than as “mutual legal assistance.” “The US Department of Justice has applied to seize the Grace 1 on a number of allegations which are now being considered,” a government spokesman said. Chief Justice Anthony Dudley made clear that were it not for the US move, “the ship would have sailed”. The Gibraltar Supreme Court decision on the fate of the ship was adjourned until after four pm (14:00 GMT).

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Gibraltar Denies It is Due to Release Seized Iranian Tanker

August 14, 2019 by · Comments Off on Gibraltar Denies It is Due to Release Seized Iranian Tanker 

VOA – Opposing news reports fueled confusion Tuesday over the fate of an oil tanker seized near the British territory of Gibraltar last month.  Jalil Eslami, deputy head of Iran’s maritime agency, said Tuesday that the tanker, Grace 1, would soon be released by Gibraltar authorities.  “We believe that (the) Grace 1 oil tanker will resume operation under (the) Iranian flag in international waters in the very near future,” Eslami said, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.    Fars, quoting unidentified Gibraltar authorities, said the tanker would be freed by late Tuesday. But Western media reports said a senior official in Gibraltar called the report “untrue.”  Although Grace 1 was seized by British forces, Britain said on Tuesday that investigations into the tanker were a matter for Gibraltar. The Gibraltar Supreme Court is scheduled to hold a hearing on the case on Thursday.

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At What Cost? The Price for Media Access to Iran

August 12, 2019 by · Comments Off on At What Cost? The Price for Media Access to Iran 

This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service. Mark Young contributed from London. At a global press freedom conference last month, BBC chief Tony Hall made a point of praising journalists in his network’s Persian service for standing up to repeated harassment by Iran.  “I want to pay tribute again to their resilience, of them and their families, in the face of years of concerted intimidation,” Hall said at the London event attended by government officials and journalists from more than 100 countries.  But just days after his July 11 remarks, some of the same journalists Hall commended were accusing the British broadcaster of buckling to Iranian censorship.

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Migrants Assess Options as Mexico Buses Them From US Border

August 10, 2019 by · Comments Off on Migrants Assess Options as Mexico Buses Them From US Border 

VOA Immigration Reporter Aline Barros contributed to this report from Washington. NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO — Off to the side of the Puente #1, the bridge that connects pedestrians, drivers and cyclists from the Texas city of Laredo to the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo, dozens of migrants and asylum-seekers sit on what was built as a parking lot for the customs office. The concrete radiated after hours of 42-degree Celsius (108-degree Fahrenheit) heat from the sun. They hadn’t been able to shower in three days, several said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) often apprehended them within an hour of crossing the river, held them for two to three days, then transported them back to Mexico. Now a month after the start of the Trump administration’s Migration Protection Protocols (MPP) in Nuevo Laredo, the Mexican government is busing hundreds of returned migrants to faraway Chiapas, in what is described as a thinly disguised deportation program.

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US Silent on Ousting of Iran’s Sanctioned FM Zarif From Social Media

August 8, 2019 by · Comments Off on US Silent on Ousting of Iran’s Sanctioned FM Zarif From Social Media 

WASHINGTON — A week after the U.S. sanctioned Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, raising the prospect of him losing access to U.S. social media platforms, U.S. officials and tech companies are mum on the issue. The Trump administration sanctioned Zarif on July 31 for having “acted or purported to act” on behalf of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whom it sanctioned a month earlier as part of its “maximum pressure campaign” against Tehran. A Treasury Department statement announcing the move said Zarif was being sanctioned under President Donald Trump’s June 24 executive order blocking “all property and interests” of Khamenei under U.S. jurisdiction, as well as those of anyone who has “acted or purposed to act” for him. Section 4 of the order imposes a “prohibition” on providing “funds, goods or services … to or for the benefit of any person” whose property and interests are blocked pursuant to the order. The Treasury statement said the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also had added Zarif to its list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, known as an SDN list. 

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At What Cost? The Price for Media Access to Iran

August 6, 2019 by · Comments Off on At What Cost? The Price for Media Access to Iran 

VOA – At a global press freedom conference last month, BBC chief Tony Hall made a point of praising journalists in his network’s Persian service for standing up to repeated harassment by Iran.  “I want to pay tribute again to their resilience, of them and their families, in the face of years of concerted intimidation,” Hall said at the London event attended by government officials and journalists from more than 100 countries.  But just days after his July 11 remarks, some of the same journalists Hall commended were accusing the British broadcaster of buckling to Iranian censorship. What set off the journalists was a leaked email showing that the BBC had sent a reporting team to Iran on the apparent condition that BBC Persian would not broadcast its content back to Iranian audiences.

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Iranian Prisoner Flees Short-Term Release, Arrives in Canada

August 4, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iranian Prisoner Flees Short-Term Release, Arrives in Canada 

VOA  – An Iranian serving a life sentence on a conviction of designing a pornographic website has fled the country while on short-term release from prison and has arrived in Canada, the foreign ministry and his family said. “Canada welcomes the news that Saeed Malekpour has been reunited with his family in Canada,” a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement received by AFP. “We have advocated for Mr. Malekpour’s release and are pleased that he is now in Canada,” the spokesman said, without elaborating because of privacy considerations.

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AP FACT CHECK: Persistent Distortions on Migrants, Economy

August 2, 2019 by · Comments Off on AP FACT CHECK: Persistent Distortions on Migrants, Economy 

VOA – WASHINGTON – Some of the Democratic presidential contenders dug in their heels with unsupported rhetoric about immigration, the economy and more Wednesday night as they scrambled to stay in contention for the winnowed-down debates to come. Several persisted in their distorted depiction of caged migrant children as a singular cruelty of President Donald Trump. Others glossed over the intricacies of complex issues, at times dismissing pointed questions as a “Republican talking point” — and not answering. Ten candidates debated in Detroit , as did 10 the night before. After this, it becomes harder to qualify for the debates ahead and some won’t make the cut. A look at some of their claims and how they compare with the facts:

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