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China warns US against opening Mideast ‘Pandora’s box’

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China on Tuesday warned against opening a “Pandora’s box” in the Middle East after the United States announced the deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the region amid escalating tensions with Iran.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi also urged Tehran to not abandon the nuclear agreement “so easily” after Iran said it would exceed its uranium stockpile limit if world powers fail to fulfil their commitments under the agreement in 10 days.

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The United States ratcheted up pressure on Iran Monday, announcing the deployment of additional troops to the Middle East and producing new photographs it said showed Tehran was behind an attack on a tanker ship in the Gulf of Oman last week.

“We call on all parties to remain rational and restrained, not to take any actions to provoke the escalation of tension in the region, and not to open a Pandora’s box,” Wang told reporters in Beijing during a joint press conference with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

“In particular, the United States should change its practice of extreme pressure,” Wang said.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated ever since the US quit the nuclear deal and with Washington blacklisting Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation.

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Wang urged Iran to “make prudent decisions” and not “so easily abandon” the deal that aims to keep Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in check.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on May 8 that Iran would stop observing restrictions on its stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water agreed under the deal, a move he said was in retaliation for the unilateral US withdrawal.

Tehran on Monday followed through with a 10-day countdown for world powers to fulfil their commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

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Iran has threatened to go even further in scaling down nuclear commitments by July 8 unless remaining partners to the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — help it circumvent US sanctions and especially enable it to sell its oil.

The US responded to the ultimatum by urging the international community not to give in to Iranian “nuclear extortion”, while the UN and European states called for cool heads.

“China’s determination to safeguard the comprehensive agreement has not changed,” Wang said.

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“We are willing to work with all parties to continue to make efforts for the full and effective implementation of the agreement.”

Wang said China has also “worked closely” with all parties to reconstruct the Arak heavy water reactor at a nuclear plant in the southwest of Tehran.

On Syria, Wang told his visiting counterpart that China “firmly supports Syria’s economic reconstruction” and its efforts to “combat terrorism”.

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Beijing has in the past teamed up with Moscow to veto any UN proposals to sanction the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“China has always advocated that the Syrian issue should be resolved through political means,” Wang said.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Fox’s Chris Wallace stunned as ‘flailing’ Trump tries to order around US companies while the stock market plunges

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Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace seemed stunned by a series of angry tweets from Donald Trump on Friday morning, first attacking Fed Chair Jerome Powell for not lowering interest rates than exploding at China over a new round of tariffs.

Speaking with host Sandra Smith, Wallace sat and listened as she read off the president's Twitter complaints about economic events beyond his control, including one telling U.S. companies to take their manufacturing business elsewhere.

"We are just all learning of this at the same time, but the best I can tell, the American president can’t order U.S. companies how they’re going to do their sales and where they’re going to have their supply chains," Wallace lectured. "We have a free-market capitalist system."

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‘They sense weakness’: Former senator says the world is ‘smirking’ as Trump flails away at latest China tariffs

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Former Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) appeared on CNN Friday to discuss how President Donald Trump has completely mishandled his long-running trade war with China.

While talking about trade with CNN's Jim Sciutto, Baucus said that China timed its new announcements of tariffs against $75 billion worth of American goods specifically to humiliate the president.

"They sense weakness," explained Baucus, who has also previously served as an American ambassador to China. "And I think that they see a weakness in the United States today. Trump has been weakened because of the weakened American economy and they're retaliating against the tariffs that Trump imposed after there was a truce there would be no tariffs."

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France launches sex-abuse investigation against Jeffrey Epstein

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French prosecutors said Friday that they had opened an inquiry into suspected cases of rape and sexual abuse of women, including minors, by late US financier Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender.

“The investigations... will focus on potential crimes committed against French victims on national territory as well as abroad, and on suspects who are French citizens,” Paris Prosecutor Remy Heitz said in a statement.

The potential charges could include rape and sexual assault against minors, including some younger than 15 years old, prosecutors said.

It will also investigate claims Epstein and others participated for years in a vast child sex trafficking ring.

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