THE NATIONAL  9 June 2019 :  Iran rejected wider talks with the international community that would tackle nuclear and military ambitions as the US put yet more sanctions on Tehran, this time hitting a petrochemical holding group that Washington says supports the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The clear picture of what happened when four oil tankers were attacked off Fujairah’s coast in May has now been provided, setting down a challenge to the United Nations to defend global energy supply lines from any outbreak of regional tensions, according to Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. No country has been named as the culprit although leading US officials have accused Tehran of orchestrating the attack. However, Dr Gargash said that the real issue is that “these are behaviours, whoever is responsible, that touch maritime trade and that garner credibility within the UN framework. That in itself is a more powerful message than political accusations.”

Watch: negotiated efforts by the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to halt Yemen’s slide into disaster deserve support as the alternative is “very bleak”, Dr Gargash told The National.

Europe has been caught in the middle, between the US and its rivals, China and Russia, writes Damien McElroy in our opinion pages. And now, the continent is waking up to just how much the world has changed. America has pivoted away from the European Union. China and Russia form an effective double act. In European eyes, they offer both significant pressures and benefits.

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