Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for June 17, 2019

Newsline: Iran protests to UK ambassador

Iran has protested to Britain’s ambassador in Tehran after being accused of involvement in attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has denied involvement, but Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Iran was “almost certainly” responsible. UK ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire said he asked for an “urgent meeting” with the Iranian Foreign Ministry. (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48652290) Meanwhile, as tension grows in the region, a British-Iranian jailed in Tehran has begun a new hunger strike. Mother-of-one Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was jailed for five years in 2016 after being convicted of spying – which she denies. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, is joining her in refusing food and has set up a tent outside the Iranian embassy, where he plans to stay while his wife is on hunger strike, to protest against her “unfair imprisonment” and demand her unconditional release.

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Newsline: China summons U.S. diplomat to complain about Hong Kong remarks

China summoned a senior U.S. diplomat to lodge a formal complaint about U.S. comments on Hong Kong, after proposed U.S. legislation that would require the government to justify the continuation of special treatment for the territory. The bipartisan Senate legislation, sponsored by several senior senators, would require the U.S. secretary of state to issue an annual certification of Hong Kong’s autonomy to justify special treatment under the U.S. Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-extradition-usa-congress/china-summons-u-s-diplomat-to-complain-about-hong-kong-remarks-idUSKCN1TF0XD) The proposed law, introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, would also require the U.S. president to identify those responsible for the abduction of booksellers and other individuals from Hong Kong and subject them to U.S. sanctions. The planned legislation comes amid a political crisis in the former British colony, where protests have boiled over against a proposed law that would allow extraditions to mainland China.