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Iran oil tanker sought by US again says it will go to Turkey

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DUBAI:  An Iranian oil tanker pursued by the U.S. on Friday again listed its destination as Turkey but the Turkish foreign minister added to the confusion by saying the vessel is headed to Lebanon — statements that were promptly denied in Beirut.

The flurry of contradictory statements further muddies the waters for the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, and obscures where its 2.1 million barrels of oil will ultimately go.

The tanker has taken center stage recently amid a crisis roiling the Persian Gulf and escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago. The vessel’s detention and later release by Gibraltar has fueled the growing tensions.

The tanker on Friday changed its listed destination in its Automatic Identification System to Iskenderun, Turkey, a small port on the Mediterranean Sea.

However, mariners can input any destination into the AIS, so Turkey may not be its true destination. On Aug. 24, it had listed its destination as Mersin, Turkey, before removing that from its system. Earlier, it had said it was going to Greece.

Iskenderun is some 200 kilometers (125 miles) by sea from a refinery in Baniyas, Syria, where authorities alleged the Adrian Darya had been heading before being seized off Gibraltar in early July.

Iranian state media and officials did not immediately acknowledge the new reported destination of the Adrian Darya, which carries Iranian crude worth some $130 million.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu denied the tanker was heading to Iskenderun and claimed it was going to Lebanon. Speaking in Oslo, Norway, the diplomat said the Turkish state and Turkish private companies were no longer buying oil from Iran, in line with U.S. sanctions.

On Monday, Iran said the oil on the Adrian Darya had been sold to an unnamed buyer. However, anyone buying it likely would be targeted by U.S. financial sanctions. Analysts have suggested Iran may choose to offload the oil onto another ship first, given the international attention focused on the Adrian Darya.

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PM pitches for ‘One Nation, One Election’ as need of India

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday pitched for ‘One Nation, One Election’, saying it is the need of India as polls taking place every few months impact development works.

Addressing the concluding session of the 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference via video conference, Modi also paid homage to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and asserted that India is fighting terrorism now with new policy and new process.

Noting that it was the biggest terror strike on India, Modi said India can never forget the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

On November 26, 2008, ten Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists from Pakistan arrived through sea and opened fire, killing 166 people, including 18 security personnel, and injuring many during the 60-hour siege in Mumbai.

Pitching strongly for ‘One Nation, One Election’, Modi said it is not just a matter of debate, this is the need of India.

“Elections are held at different places every few months, the impact it has on development works is known to all. Therefore, it is a must to have deep study and deliberation on ‘One Nation, One Election’,” Modi said.

The prime minister also suggested a single voters’ list for Lok Sabha, assembly and panchayat polls, saying separate lists are a waste of resources.

Legislature, Executive and Judiciary should work with better coordination and national interest should be the basis for every decision, Modi said.

“We must remember that when politics take over people and nation-first policies, the nation has to pay adversely in such situations,” he said.

He also cited the example of delay in the completion of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, saying it kept lingering and was completed after years.

“This could have happened earlier if development was given precedence. Those who stalled it, have no repentance,” he said in a clear attack on the Congress.

Underlining that there is no place for politics of untouchability, Modi cited the example of the Statue of Unity built by his government for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel despite him not being from the BJP or the Jana Sangh.

Constitution is our guiding light to take on challenges in the 21st century and national interest should be our basis for every decision, Modi said

He called for raising awareness about the Constitution.

“Our Constitution has many features but one very special feature is the importance given to duties. Mahatma Gandhi was very keen about this. He saw a close link between rights and duties. He felt that once we perform our duties, rights will automatically be safeguarded,” Modi said.

He also referred to the practice of KYC (know your customer) in the corporate world and said there should be a similar KYC drive in the form of Know Your Constitution to popularise the Constitution and its different features.

The All India Presiding Officers Conference began in 1921, and the Gujarat event marks its centenary year.

The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Harmonious Coordination between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary- Key to a Vibrant Democracy’.

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