The US has unleashed what it describes as its "toughest ever" sanctions on Iran. President Donald Trump earlier this year pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Tehran, with the US gradually bringing back all the sanctions it had previously lifted. They will now hit Iran's oil, shipping and banking sectors, with the aim of curbing its nuclear ambitions. The idea is to dissuade other countries from purchasing Iranian oil, which brings in a huge proportion of the country's revenue, writes our diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus. Thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest against the measure, chanting: "Death to America".
The Netherlands has recalled its ambassador to Iran for talks following Tehran's decision to expel two of its diplomats amid a dispute over an alleged plot to assassinate political opponents of the Islamic Republic on Dutch soil. In a letter to the Dutch parliament on Monday, Foreign Minister Stef Blok said he told Iran's ambassador in The Hague last month that the expulsions, which were not previously announced in public, were "unacceptable" and "negative" for the relationship of the two countries. Iran informed the Dutch authorities of its decision to expel the diplomats on February 20 and the pair returned to the Netherlands on Sunday, Blok added. The foreign minister said Iran's move was a tit-for-tat response to the Netherlands' expulsion of two Iranian embassy workers in June 2018 due to suspicions that Tehran was involved in the assassination of two Dutch-Iranian citizens in the Netherlands. Tehran has repeatedly denied any involvement in the murder of the two dissidents and alleged the accusations were intended to damage Iran's relations with the EU, which early this year announced sanctions against an Iranian intelligence unit and two officials allegedly linked to the deaths.
The UK, along with France and Germany, has said it remains committed to the Iran nuclear deal, insisting that it has left the world "a safer place". In a joint statement issued with her European counterparts, Theresa May said she regretted Donald Trump's decision to exit the 2015 agreement. The group said the accord "remains important for our shared security". "We urge all sides to remain committed to its implementation and to act in a spirit of responsibility", they wrote. Labour, meanwhile, accused President Trump of a "reckless, senseless and immoral act of diplomatic sabotage".
Jeremy Corbyn described his meeting with Jewish leaders on Tuesday as "positive and constructive". They, however, called it "disappointing" and a "missed opportunity". It was arranged by the Labour leader as he tries to get to tackle the accusations of anti-Semitism dogging his party. But the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews said his proposals "fell short of the minimum level of action" they had called for. Labour, though, says it has agreed to settle "the vast majority" of the outstanding cases by the end of July, and will set out further measures soon.
President Donald Trump speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. The Trump administration imposed sanctions on 13 people and a dozen companies in response to Iran's recent ballistic missile test, increasing the pressure on Tehran without directly undercutting a landmark nuclear deal with the country. President Donald Trump speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. The Trump administration imposed sanctions on 13 people and a dozen companies in response to Iran's recent ballistic missile test, increasing the pressure on Tehran without directly undercutting a landmark nuclear deal with the country.