The United States hit Iran with new sanctions, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the case that undoing the actions of the Trump administration would be foolish and dangerous. The Treasury and State departments announced they had targeted a leading Iranian charity and numerous of its affiliates for human rights violations. At the same time, Pompeo released a statement titled “The Importance of Sanctions on Iran,” which argued that the Trump administration’s moves against Iran made the world safer and should not be reversed.
The new sanctions target Iran’s Mostazafan Foundation and roughly 160 of its subsidiaries, which are alleged to provide material support to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for malign activities, including the suppression of dissent. Also targeted was Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, who it said “played a central role in the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses against Iranian citizens.” They come as the administration seeks to ramp up pressure on Iran before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
The Palestinian Authority will restore ties with Israel that it severed in May over Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, a move that will allow it to receive much-needed tax revenues that Israel collects on its behalf, Palestinian officials said. The move to restore ties likely reflects the Palestinians’ hope that President Donald Trump’s election defeat spells the end of his administration’s Mideast policies, which overwhelmingly favoured Israel and weakened and isolated the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinians hope for a fresh start under President-elect Joe Biden, who has pledged to restore U.S. aid and push for a return to negotiations over a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict. Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian official and close aide to President Mahmoud Abbas, tweeted that “the relationship with Israel will return to how it was” following “official written and oral letters we received” confirming Israel’s commitment to past agreements.
People are going hungry in Ethiopia’s rebellious northern Tigray region as roads are blocked, airports are closed and the federal government marches on its capital in a final push to win a two-week war. But residents are afraid to leave for fear of being killed, an internal assessment says. Trucks laden with food, fuel and medical supplies have been stuck outside the region’s borders since the Nov. 4 announcement by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that a military offensive had begun in response to an attack by Tigray regional forces on a military base.
“At this stage there is simply very little left, even if you have money,” according to the internal assessment by one humanitarian group, seen by The Associated Press. It said people “will stay where they are, there is no place in Tigray where the situation is any different and they cannot cross over into the other regions of Ethiopia because of fear of what would be done to them.”
After nearly two years and a pair of deadly crashes, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Boeing’s 737 Max for flight. The nation’s air safety agency announced the move early Wednesday, saying it was done after a “comprehensive and methodical” 20-month review process. Regulators around the world grounded the Max in March 2019, after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet. That happened less than five months after another Max flown by Indonesia’s Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea. A total of 346 passengers and crew members on both planes were killed.
Federal Aviation Administration chief Stephen Dickson signed an order rescinding the grounding. U.S. airlines will fly the Max once Boeing updates critical software and computers and pilots receive training in flight simulators. The FAA says the order was made in cooperation with air safety regulators worldwide.