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|Egypt-U.S. ties restored despite human rights concerns: Kerry
by Cairo Post
CAIRO: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has voiced his concerns over human rights situation in Egypt amid the country’s counter-terrorism efforts.
“There should be a difference between those who use violence and those who want to participate in the political dialogue, said Kerry in a Sunday press conference held in Cairo in the sideline of the U.S.-Egypt “strategic dialogue” talks.
He noted that the crackdown on civilians and depriving them from human rights “enhances terrorism.”
“Obviously, there has been a little bit of tension over certain issues,” Kerry said, adding that both sides discussed the best ways of combating terrorism and protecting the human rights at the same time.
Speaking at the conference, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that there are no major differences between the two countries, only different point of views.
“No country has reached the idealism in the human rights record,” Shoukry said, noting that all journalists, currently standing behind bars, have been detained for terrorisms-related crimes.
Concerning the Protest law, Shoukry said that any country has the right to issue a protest law if protests would threaten its national security and safety.
The relations between both sides have soared due to human rights conditions in August 2013, when U.S. suspended part of the $1.3 billion aid to Egypt after the dispersal of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Rabaa and Nahdah squares.
However, In April 2014, relations improved when the Pentagon announced that the suspended aid would be released. In November 2014, Egypt received the suspended 10 Apache fighter jets.
The first session of the bilateral strategic dialogue was held in 2009, but it was suspended following the 2011 uprising. Kerry stated that both sides agreed to hold the meetings every two years.
During the opening session of the dialogue, Kerry affirmed his country aims to support Egypt to “double its economic growth.”
“We welcome President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s steps taken to improve economic conditions,” Kerry said in the session co-chaired with Shoukry.
Iran nuclear deal ‘safe’
U.S. Secretary said that Iran’s deal with the U.N member states will be “Safer” to Egypt and the whole region; On July 14, Iran and the U.S., China, Russia, U.K., France and Germany reached a deal on the Iranian nuclear program that guarantees Tehran’s peaceful use of nuclear power in return for lifting western sanctions.
“The United States and Egypt recognize that Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities in the region,” Kerry said.
Libya unity government
Kerry said that his country seeks to support UN plant to form Libyan unity government, highlighted Cairo and Washington agreement on reaching a peaceful solution for Libyan security and political turmoil. Both sides also discussed the Syrian crisis.
Khamenei continues anti-US propaganda, publishes picture of Obama with gun to head
Iran's Supreme Leader and a number of hardliners have maintained a harsh tone against the US despite the signing of the nuclear deal with world powers.
Ed. See source to see graphic of Obama with gun to head. http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran/Khamenei-We-welcome-no-war-but-if-any-happens-US-will-emerge-the-loser-410190
In his latest rhetorical dismissal of Washington, Iran's Supreme Leader tweeted a warning against any military action against Iran by what he called the "aggressive and criminal US."
Appearing on Ayatollah Khamenei's official Twitter account, the social media post features a quote from the Islamic Republic's premier cleric reading "we welcome no war, nor do we initiate any war, but if any war happens the who will emerge loser will be the aggressive and criminal US."
Below the threat, a silhouette resembling US President Barack Obama can be seen holding a gun against his own head, as if to suggest that any sort of strike against Tehran would be a suicidal move for the American leader.
Iran's Supreme Leader and a number of the his country's hardliners have been outwardly critical of the recent agreement reached between their country and the P5+1 nations, including the US.
Earlier this month, Khamenei reassured worshipers that "even after this deal our policy towards the arrogant US will not change."
The Ayatollah had also pledged that his country would "never stop supporting our friends in the region", and highlighted places such as Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, all of whom have hosted proxies or allies of Iran.
Last week the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said that several sections of the finalized deal reached between the world powers and his country "clearly crossed the Islamic Republic's red lines, especially in Iran's military capabilities."
"We will never accept it," he added.
Iran's Rouhani Defends Nuclear Deal as 'New Page in History'
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani defended the nuclear deal with the U.S. and other Western powers Thursday, saying the agreement was "more valuable" than domestic criticism of its details.
His comments came after the country's elite Revolutionary Guards, a powerful political, economic and military force, began sniping at the deal, saying it endangers Iran's security.
Under the July 14 deal agreed in Vienna, sanctions will be gradually removed in return for Iran accepting long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb. Iran denies it seeks a nuclear bomb.
Rouhani argued that the deal reflected Iranian's wishes. Pinning his political prestige to the agreement, he suggested that blocking the deal would ignore what Iranians had sought when they elected him to office in 2013.
"This is a new page in history," he told a medical conference broadcast live on television. "It didn't happen when we reached the deal in Vienna on July 14, it happened on 4th of August 2013 when the Iranians elected me as their president."
"How can one be an Iranian and not cheer for our negotiating team?" Rouhani added referring to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, both of whom attended Rouhani's speech.
"I chose the best negotiators Iran had. They are knowledgeable and brave."
Many analysts see the chance of the Iranian leadership eventually rejecting the deal as small, since Tehran needs the lifting of sanctions to help its isolated economy.
The debate over details largely reflects internal rivalries in Iran's cumbersome dual system of clerical and republican rule, in which factions jostle to gain maximum benefit from the deal while shouldering the least responsibility.
In remarks chiding critics of the accord, Rouhani said he had noted critics were "scrutinizing one by one the terms of the deal" done in Vienna and the subsequent UN resolution 2231. "That's good but what has happened is more valuable and more significant than that," he said.
Rouhani said while it was important to ensure enrichment of uranium continued, it was equally important that the daily life of Iranians "should not stop", implying that the task of lifting sanctions was vital. He said that under sanctions Iran's trade had been reduced to a "stone age level".
Iran's procedures for ratifying the accord are not known in any detail. Whatever the eventual role of parliament or the National Security Council, the country's highest security body, the deal will have to be approved by the Ayatollah Khamenei, the country's highest authority.
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