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Bulgaria blocks transfers worth millions of euros from Venezuela oil firm

Bulgarian authorities say they have blocked money transfers out of a number of bank accounts that have received millions of euros from the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company, PDVSA, as the sanctions-hit South American country is struggling with an unprecedented political crisis. Following a meeting with the US ambassador in Sofia on Wednesday, Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov…

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EU to tackle dollar dominance in energy trade

The European Union has convened a wide-ranging industrial group to work on promoting the euro and fighting the monopoly of the US dollar in oil and commodities trading, reflecting broader tensions with Washington over trade and sanctions. The group, which involves executives from European oil firms such as OMV and Eni, and gas and power firms such as Fluxys and…

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Iran’s Zarif Urges EU to Meet Its JCPOA Obligations

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the European Union to meet its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, saying if the EU wants to set preconditions for the implementation of their commitments, Iran may walk away from the deal.   If Europeans demand changes to Iran’s missile program and the country’s accession to the Financial Action Task Force…

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EU plans to blacklist Saudi Arabia for failure in fighting money laundering: FT

The European Commission is planning to name Saudi Arabia in a list of countries that have failed to fight against terrorist financing and money laundering, a report says. Brussels is in the final stages of adopting the list, which will include 23 countries and jurisdictions who failed to combat “dirty money,” the Financial Times cited European Union officials as saying Friday. The…

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France recalls Rome envoy after Italian leader meets Yellow Vest protesters

  France has recalled its ambassador from Rome after an Italian leader held a meeting with French ‘Yellow Vest’ protesters. The French Foreign Ministry on Thursday asked the envoy to return for consultations on the issue of the meeting between Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio and leaders of the French ‘Yellow Vest’ protest movement. The ministry called the…

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Iran’s president renews call for Middle East free of nukes, other WMDs

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani renews Tehran’s call for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, urging an end to foreign interventions in the region. “Our slogan is a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and [other] weapons of mass destruction, and we have been standing firm in this regard for more than 40 years,”…

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France’s US envoy defends Europe’s stay in Iran deal, says all states must stick to signatures

The French ambassador to the US has defended Europe’s decision to stay committed to the Iran deal in defiance of Washington’s pressure and threats, saying all countries should stick to their signatures. Gerard Araud made the remarks in a tweet on Wednesday in response to a recent opinion piece by the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, which argued that Europe should join the US…

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Iran, three EU states to hold 1st round of expert-level talks on INSTEX in Paris soon

  Iran and its three European partners in the 2015 nuclear deal will soon begin talks in Paris, France, in an effort to work out the operational details of a newly-launched financial mechanism meant to protect Tehran-Europe trade ties against US sanctions. On a visit to Paris on Tuesday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi reached an agreement with French officials to hold…

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UK police investigating verbal abuse of top Muslim player

  Police in London is investigating a major Islamophobic attack against Liverpool FC’s Mohammad Salah of Egypt. The Metropolitan Police (The Met) said on Wednesday that it was investigating an incident during an English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Liverpool FC, in which a capital club supporter allegedly hurled Islamophobic rants at Salah. A footage of the…

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Former far-right Dutch politician announces unexpected conversion to Islam while writing an anti-Islam book

A former far-right Dutch lawmaker and right-hand man of notorious anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has announced his unexpected conversion to Islam. The 40-year-old Joram Van Klaveren said he had changed his mind and views halfway through writing an anti-Islam book, according to news reports on Tuesday. The former politician told a Dutch radio program he came across many things “that made my…

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