Trump’s tough stance on Iran is proving to be essential as the Iran Nuclear Deal negotiations continue in Vienna. During the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “board meeting in Vienna, the U.S. accused Iran of violating the very nuclear deal that U.S. negotiators are trying to reinstate” reports Fox News.
The U.S. delegation said in a statement, “since this Board last men, Iran has also exceeded JCPOA constraints by enriching uranium to 60 percent U-235.” Even the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, and IAEA director Rafael Grossi issued a warning: “My expectations about this process, of course, were not met.”
“We have a country that has a very developed and ambitious nuclear program, which is enriching at very high levels, enriching uranium at very high levels, very close to weapons-grade,” said Rossi, who added it is no longer possible to say for certain that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons.
A sixth round of indirect talks are to continue Thursday of this week, but the new activity at known Iranian nuclear sites “worry those seeking a nuclear deal” according to Fox News. Trump criticized the Iran nuclear deal and imposed sanctions on Iran because of its non-compliant and deceitful behavior.
Even Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken told U.S. lawmakers, “We don’t know, at this stage, whether Iran is willing and able to do what it would need to do to come back into compliance.” He added, “I would anticipate that even in the event of a return to compliance with the JCPOA, hundreds of sanctions will remain in place, including sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. If they are not inconsistent with the JCPOA, they will remain unless and until Iran’s behavior changes.”
Fox News obtained new satellite images showing unusual activity at Iran’s Sanjarian site, a suspected manufacturing site for “shock wave generators,” devices that would allow Iran to miniaturize a nuclear weapon. An official with Iran’s Permanent Mission to the U.N. dismissed the images, saying they are only from filming a TV show.
Nike Executive: ‘Nike is a Brand That is of China and For China’
“Nike is a brand that is of China and for China” stated the company’s Chief executive John Donahoe. The comment was made during a call with Wall Street analysts about Nike’s latest earnings report and in response to a question about the competition of Chinese brands.
Donahoe made “a robust defense of the firm’s business in China after facing a consumer boycott there” reported the BBC. Nike has received backlash over doing business in Xinjiang, where millions of China’s Muslim minorities called Uyghurs reside.
The BBC notes “Uyghurs have been detained at camps where allegations of torture, forced labor and sexual abuse have emerged. China has denied these claims saying the camps are ‘re-education’ facilities aimed at lifting Uyghurs out of poverty.”
Donahoe said he remained confident that China would continue to be a fast-growing market for Nike as “we’ve always taken a long term view. We’ve been in China for over 40 years.” He added, “Phil [Knight] invested significant time and energy in China in the early days and today we’re the largest sports brand there.”
BBC reports of Nike being boycotted in China:
Several Western brands, including Nike and Swedish fashion retailer H&M, recently faced a backlash from Chinese shoppers after the firms expressed concerns about the alleged use of Uyghur forced labor in cotton production.
In March, a group of Western countries imposed sanctions on officials in China over rights abuses against the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority group.
The sanctions were introduced as a coordinated effort by the European Union, UK, US and Canada.
In December, the BBC published an investigation based on new research showing China was forcing hundreds of thousands of minorities including Uyghurs into manual labour in Xinjiang’s cotton fields.
Nonetheless, Nike’s fourth-quarter earnings showed revenues doubled to a better-than-expected $12.3 billion for the three months. “That helped it bounce back to a $1.5bn profit, from a $790m loss during the depths of the pandemic a year earlier” reports BBC.
“The figures also showed that revenue in China rose to more than $1.9bn, but missed Wall Street expectations of $2.2bn.” Donahue remains confident China will continue to be a fast-growing market for Nike.
U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Ban All Imports From China’s Xinjiang Region for ‘Horrific Abuses’
The United States Senate passed legislation Wednesday which bans the import of products from China’s Xinjiang region. U.S. officials say it is the latest action taken against China to punish Beijing for the ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and Muslim groups.
The bipartisan measure was passed unanimously and shifts the burden of proof to importers. “The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would create a ‘rebuttable presumption’ assuming goods manufactured in Xinjiang are made with forced labor and therefore banned under the 1930 Tariff Act unless otherwise certified by U.S. authorities” reports Reuters.
Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduced the legislation along with Democrat Jeff Merkley. “We will not turn a blind eye to the CCP’s ongoing crimes against humanity, and we will not allow corporations a free pass to profit from those horrific abuses” stated Senator Rubio.
“No American corporation should profit from these abuses. No American consumer should be inadvertently purchasing products from slave labor” said Senator Merkley. “Rights groups, researchers, former residents and some Western lawmakers and officials say Xinjiang authorities have facilitated forced labor by detaining around a million Uyghurs and other primarily Muslim minorities since 2016.”
The bill is expected to have overwhelming support in the House, and “the bill would go beyond steps already taken to secure U.S. supply chains in the face of allegations of rights abuses in China, including existing bans on Xinjian tomatoes, cotton and some solar products” reports Reuters.
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