Media Summary

BP oil tanker hiding from Iran in the Gulf

The Guardian reports that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran has enriched uranium past the 3.67% limit agreed in the Iran nuclear deal. The move, confirmed by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, came amid hints from Iran that it could start enriching to 20% later in the year unless it secured European help in the face of crippling US sanctions.The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the body tasked with verifying Iranian compliance, said on Monday that Iran had breached the 3.67% enrichment limit, a move previously flagged by Tehran. A spokesman for the organisation said its director general, Yukiya Amano, had informed the IAEA board of governors that agency inspectors had verified on Monday that Iran was “enriching uranium above 3.67% U-235”. The agency, in a report to member states, said it had verified the enrichment level using online enrichment monitors and samples had also been taken on Monday for analysis.

The BBC reports that the EU is urging a reversal of the uranium enrichment breach by Tehran. Spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said the bloc was extremely concerned after Iran announced that it was producing material with a fissile purity of 4.5%. European leaders fear it could speed up the potential development of a nuclear weapon – something Iran denies seeking. “We are extremely concerned at Iran’s announcement that it has started uranium enrichment above the limit of 3.67%,” Ms Kocijancic told reporters on Monday. “We strongly urge Iran to stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its commitments… We are in contact with the other JCPOA participants regarding the next steps under the terms of the JCPOA, including a joint commission,” she said.

In the Times Richard Spencer writes that Iran is giving the West a “nuclear ultimatum.” Steps being considered in retaliation for the Trump administration’s reimposition of sanctions include reactivating “frozen” centrifuges and enriching uranium to the 20 per cent purity sought before the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has already breached two key elements of the deal since President Trump decided last year to unilaterally withdraw the United States

The Independent reports that the UK government has applied to continue arms sales to Saudi Arabia as it fights a decision by the Court of Appeal to rule them unlawful. Ministers are attempting to stay last month’s judgment as they launch the latest legal challenge in a long-running battle over weapons used in the Yemen war. If granted, the stay will allow the government to continue licensing arms sales to Saudi and its partners until the outcome of its appeal.

The Telegraph reports that Iran has warned that Britain’s seizure of an oil tanker in Gibraltar “will not go unanswered,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, said on Tuesday, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency. “The capture of the Iranian oil tanker based on fabricated excuses … will not be unanswered and when necessary Tehran will give an appropriate answer,” Bagheri said. On Friday, Gibraltar’s Supreme Court granted an order to the territory’s authorities allowing them to hold the tanker for another fortnight.

The Independent reports that a BP oil tanker is reportedly sheltering inside the Persian Gulf amid fears it could be seized by Iran, according to Bloomberg. BP is reportedly worried about retaliation by Tehran after the Royal Marines seized an Iranian oil tanker entering the Mediterranean off the coast of Gibraltar last week.

The Telegraph reports that Netflix’s long awaited entry into Arab market is stoking anger with a supernatural teen drama. Jinn, the programme named after mythological Arab spirits borne of smokeless fire, has sparked an outcry and been branded “pornographic” in what is being seen as a misfire by the entertainment giant. The programme, which shows its Jordanian teenage stars kissing, swearing, drinking and using drugs, prompted viewers to post critical reviews online, with one calling it “horrible, distasteful, and borderline pornographic.

The Jewish Chronicle reports that Israeli diplomat Yossi Sheli was ridiculed for a ‘censored’ lobster meal with the Brazilian president. Israel’s ambassador to Brazil was mocked on social media after posting a picture of himself having dinner with the country’s president – while clumsily trying to blot out evidence of their non-kosher meal.

Reuters reports that naval forces from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen foiled an attempted attack on an unidentified commercial ship in the southern Red Sea on Monday by the Iran-aligned Houthis, which the group denied. Spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said the Western-backed military alliance had destroyed an unmanned boat laden with explosives which the militants had used for the attack, Saudi state news agency SPA reported without providing more details.

All the Israeli media report on the demonstrations last night in Tel Aviv against police treatment of the Ethiopian community. The demonstrators gathered at Rabin Square and blocked the Azrieli junction. Yediot Ahronot interviewed the father of Solomon Tekah who said: “I lost a boy. A good, loving boy who respected people … but this past week was very sad not just for me and my family, but for an entire community. And what saddened me even more were the lies that were told in some of the media about my son’s supposed criminal record. I can’t understand how they were capable of doing that in good conscience, to say such terrible things after Solomon was murdered. We, the family, with all the pain, sorrow and sadness, tried to calm the demonstrators who were up in arms. We asked all the demonstrators in the country to postpone all of the protests until the Shiva was over because we didn’t want even a single additional person to be hurt — either from the police, the demonstrators or the citizens who suffered in those demonstrations. I know that people have the right to demonstrate in a democratic country like the State of Israel and it’s also clear to me that the fight for justice isn’t over yet. I support a legitimate struggle but, at the same time, I also condemn violence from any side. The fight will continue until we, Solomon’s family, receive justice. I’m confident that that justice will be delivered. And that justice needs to be seen as well.  As Solomon’s father I can’t judge the policeman, but I do expect and demand, as does the entire Ethiopian community, that a professional investigation be conducted and that it be followed by a fair trial. The policeman who shot Solomon needs to be punished severely…”

This morning Kan news reports that police carried out a reconstruction of the incident. The officer who shot and killed Solomon Tekah said that he did not aim at Tekah and his friends but rather had shot to the side, toward the ground. In answer to the investigators’ question as how the bullet could have ricocheted in Tekah’s direction, the officer answered that it was possible that he had moved while shooting. The youth whom Tekah and his friends were suspected of harassing at the public park in Kiryat Haim, supported the officer’s claim that he had come to help the youth. However, it is still not clear whether the shooting was necessary. The police investigation will continue into next week.

Israel Hayom leads with an exclusive that suggests that the Palestinians are reconsidering their stance towards the US. According to the paper: “A senior Palestinian Authority official said that Ramallah and Washington have recently exchanged messages in an attempt to clear the air and to end the boycott that Mahmoud Abbas declared against the US. The Palestinian official said that a delegation of senior PA officials, headed by Commander of the General Intelligence Service Maj. Gen. Majed Faraj, is expected to leave shortly for Washington to hold talks with senior American officials, and that secret talks have already been held about that issue between aides to President Trump and Abbas. These are only feelers, but both sides have adopted a positive attitude and progress has been made towards a possible resumption of relations,” according to the senior Palestinian official.  The paper further speculates: “What prompted the Palestinians to change their attitude? One reason is the Palestinians’ disappointment with the Arab countries, which agreed to attend the Bahrain conference despite Abbas’s pleas that they boycott it. The senior Palestinian official said that officials in Ramallah viewed the Arab countries’ decision to attend the conference as a ‘betrayal of the Palestinian cause.’ Considering the fact that one of the objectives of the conference was to pressure Abbas into ending his boycott, it seems that the chosen course of action was successful. A second reason is the prevailing assessment in Ramallah that the US plan is going to be presented after the elections in Israel and once a new government has been formed, and the Palestinians would prefer to stabilise their relations with President Trump and his aides before that happens. According to a report in a Palestinian newspaper last night, Greenblatt said that Trump might unveil the plan even before the Israeli elections. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority’s economic situation has also contributed to the decision. Ramallah would like to see the flow of aid renewed. Lastly, the prevailing assessment among PA officials is that Trump is likely to win a second term in office.”

Israel Hayom reports that Jason Greenblatt gave an interview to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam. The paper notes: “That is hardly a minor development considering the fact that the PA considers the US administration to be completely biased in Israel’s favour. Greenblatt and Friedman are personae non grata in the Palestinian Authority, and the interview with Greenblatt was designed to soften Palestinian public opinion in advance of getting the talks back on track and accepting the administration as a mediator between us and Israel,” said one close aide to Abbas in a conversation with the paper. In the interview Greenblatt said: “President Trump hasn’t made a decision yet when to publish the full peace plan. He is weighing the options in keeping with the elections in Israel and the decision about publishing the plan will be made soon. Greenblatt said that Trump and the administration are aware of the difficulties, but are determined to advance the regional peace plan.” Greenblatt said: “We weren’t surprised by the difficulties in the peace plan and by the fact that there are some people who haven’t accepted it. Anyone who doesn’t understand that doesn’t understand the essence of the conflict. With that having been said, all of the sides need to understand that it’s impossible to present a perfect peace plan.”