WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is further easing sanctions on Iran, making it easier for foreign firms to do business with the country following last year’s nuclear deal.
The Treasury Department published new guidance for businesses that said some previously prohibited dollar transactions with Iran by offshore banking institutions are allowed as long as they do not enter the U.S. financial system.
The clarifications from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control also removes a blanket ban on foreign transactions with Iranian firms that may be controlled by a person who remains subject to U.S. sanctions.
Despite the nuclear agreement, which gave sanctions relief to Iran in return for it curtailing its nuclear program, the U.S. maintains sanctions on Iran and certain Iranian companies and people. They are known as “specially designated nationals” or SDNs, for a variety of reasons, including its ballistic missile program, human rights record and support for groups the U.S. deems to be terrorist organizations.
GENEVA (AP) — Russia lodged a formal complaint last month with the United Nations over a top U.N. official’s condemnation of Donald Trump and some European politicians, an intervention that underscores the unusual links between the Republican presidential nominee and the Kremlin.
There is no evidence Trump sought Russia’s assistance, or was even aware of the criticism by Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, told The Associated Press on Friday that he complained to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about Zeid’s remarks.
Three diplomats familiar with the conversation said the complaint occurred in a private meeting. Churkin angrily protested a pair of speeches by Zeid that denounced “demagogues” and specifically targeted Trump and several populist leaders in Europe, even likening their tactics to Islamic State propaganda.
TIRANA, Albania (AP) — When Pope Francis visited Albania in 2014, he was brought to tears by a priest’s description of the two decades of imprisonment, torture and forced labor he suffered under Albania’s brutal communist rulers for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith.
This week Francis honored the Rev. Ernest Troshani Simoni’s witness by naming him to the College of Cardinals.
Troshani, who turns 88 later this month and uses his Troshani birthplace as one of his names, was one of 17 new cardinals named by Francis who will be formally elevated at a Vatican ceremony Nov. 19. He is among four cardinals over age 80 who can’t vote in a conclave to elect a new pope but were named to the club because of their service to the church.
For Albania’s tiny Catholic Church, the nomination was a deeply symbolic gesture acknowledging the suffering of Catholic clergy during the reign of Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha, who banned religion in 1967.
“That is an homage to a cleric symbolizing all Albania’s suffering clergy,” said the Rev. Gjergj Meta, a church spokesman.