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Iran's nuclear ambitions, Trial of Putin, and the battle for Mariupol: Western media digest as of March 10

Photo: collage Wikipedia, Getty Images, JFO/FB

Photo: collage Wikipedia, Getty Images, JFO/FB

Western media continue to cover the war in Ukraine—oday, March 10, they reported about Iran's nuclear negotiations with the West and the position of the United States, Europe, and Russia on this issue, analyzed what tribunal could sentence Vladimir Putin personally and the Kremlin elite, as well as explained why the bloody leader so clung to Mariupol and arranges a real genocide there, if only capture the city.

The Page has compiled an up-to-date overview of what the European and American media are reporting, covering 15 days of an active Russian invasion.


Iran begins to put pressure on United States

Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

According to Reuters, on Thursday, March 10, Iran upped the ante in nuclear talks with world powers, saying the United States was being forced to back down on "unacceptable offers" just as prospects for a deal were being questioned by last-minute Russian demands.

Eleven months of negotiations to resume the 2015 nuclear deal that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbing its nuclear program have reached their final stage. But they stopped last week when Moscow demanded sweeping guarantees from the US that Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine would not affect its trade with Iran.

Iran's chief negotiator Ali Bagheri returned to Vienna after holding consultations in Tehran and met with negotiator Enrique Mora of the European Union.

Mora interrupted the informal meetings on Monday, saying it was time for political decisions to be made to finalize the talks.

Tehran: "Who will help us in the future?"

Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

On Thursday, March 10, several Iranian officials strengthened Iran's position. After months of silence in the talks, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to the Tasnim news agency, said Iran would not be naive and pressured to reduce its defense power and regional presence and progress in nuclear technology.

Quote"Regional presence gives us strategic depth and more power. Why should we give it up? Scientific progress in the nuclear industry is related to our future needs, and if we refuse this, who will help us in the future?" he said.

Senior security official Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, accused the US on Twitter of not making the necessary decisions, making negotiations difficult.

Four Western diplomats told Reuters that the overall plan for the deal had been finalized with only minor adjustments left to be made. They insisted that Russia was the main obstacle.

Iranian officials remain cautious about Russian demands, but suggested on Thursday that there were still serious unresolved issues in nuclear talks.

Iran demands guarantees and easing of sanctions

Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

The news agency Tasnim quoted an Iranian official as saying that important nuances related to guarantees and sanctions remain undefined.

Iran has also stated it needs guarantees that no future US president will ever back out of the nuclear deal.

Iran's concern is explained by the words of former US Vice President Mike Pence. On Wednesday, March 9, he stated that if Washington agrees to a new deal and the Republicans come to power again, they will "rip up any new Iran Nuclear Deal on day one."

An Iranian official said that there were still two or three difficult issues to be resolved, and that Tehran was now also demanding a change in how the agreement was implemented.

Europe moves away, Russia "does not delay the agreement"

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European negotiators from France, Britain, and Germany have temporarily left the talks, as they believe they have gone as far as they could, and now the US and Iran must agree on outstanding issues.

On March 9, Russia's representative Mikhail Ulyanov dismissed any suggestion that Moscow was delaying the agreement and said the text was not final as other participants had put forward new demands.

Quote"Given the new circumstances and the wave of sanctions against Russia, we have the right to protect our interests in the nuclear sphere and in a wider context," Ulyanov said.

According to him, the US and the EU should make it clear that neither now nor in the future sanctions can affect the implementation of nuclear projects in Iran or, in a broader sense, trade and economic relations between Moscow and Tehran.

Western officials say Moscow is seeking additional benefits through its involvement in efforts to renew the nuclear deal, but they will not cooperate with it.

Whether it is possible to punish Kremlin and its leaders for war crimes

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The BBC has devoted a long article to whether Vladimir Putin personally can be held criminally liable for the attack on Ukraine. The publication quoted the words of the International Committee of the Red Cross that "even war has rules."

They are contained in treaties called the Geneva Conventions and in other international laws and agreements.

What a war crime is:

  • Civilians cannot be deliberately attacked, nor can the infrastructure vital to their survival.
  • Some weapons are banned because of the indiscriminate or terrible suffering they cause. Anti-personnel landmines and chemical or biological weapons are among them.
  • It is necessary to take care of the sick and wounded, including injured soldiers who have rights as prisoners of war.
  • Other laws prohibit torture and genocide, the deliberate attempt to destroy a group of people.
  • Serious offenses during war, such as murder, rape, or mass persecution of groups of people, are known as "crimes against humanity".

What accusations of war crimes were in Ukraine

Фото: Max Levin

Фото: Max Levin

Ukraine called the strike of Russian aircraft on maternity hospitals and children's wards in Mariupol a war crime. Three people, including one child, were killed and 17 staff and patients were injured.

There were also reports that Russian troops fired on Ukrainian civilians trying to evacuate.

There's mounting evidence that cluster bombs—munitions that separate into lots of bomblets—have hit civilian areas of Kharkiv.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine are signatories to a worldwide ban on their use, but these incidents can still be considered a war crime.

The UK Ministry of Defense says Russia has used thermobaric explosives, which create a massive vacuum by sucking up oxygen. These devastating explosives are not banned—but their deliberate use near civilians would almost certainly break the rules of war.

Many experts argue the invasion itself is a crime under the concept of aggressive warfare.

How war crimes suspects are pursued

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Every country should investigate allegations of war crimes, but some countries do it harder than others.

In the UK, for instance, senior police officers have already offered to help gather evidence of war crimes in Ukraine.

As to how suspects might be prosecuted, there were a number of one-off courts after World War Two, including a war crimes court after the breakup of Yugoslavia.

A body was also set up to prosecute some of those responsible for the Rwanda genocide, where Hutu extremists killed 800,000 people in 100 days in 1994.

Today, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice have roles upholding the rules of war.

Which of the courts could convict Putin personally

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The International Court of Justice decides on disputes between states, but cannot prosecute individuals. Ukraine initiated a case there against Russia over the invasion.

If the International Court of Justice ruled against Russia, the task of enforcing that judgment would fall to the UN Security Council.

But Russia, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, can veto any proposal to sanction it.

Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court is investigating and prosecuting individual war criminals who are not before the courts of individual states.

It is the modern and permanent successor to Nuremberg, which prosecuted the most important surviving Nazi leaders then in custody in 1945.

Nuremberg cemented the principle that states could agree to set up a special court to uphold international law.

Can the ICC investigate offenses in Ukraine

Photo: Max Levin

Photo: Max Levin

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), British lawyer Karim Khan QC, says there is reasonable basis to believe war crimes were committed in Ukraine and he has permission from 39 states to investigate.

Investigators will look at past and present allegations—going back as far as 2013, before Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

If there's evidence against individuals, the prosecutor will ask ICC judges to issue arrest warrants to bring them to trial—which would be held in The Hague.

This is where the practical limitations on the court's power become apparent.The court doesn't have its own police force. It relies on states to arrest suspects.

Russia is not a member of the court—it pulled out in 2016, and it is obvious that president Putin won't extradite any suspects.

QuoteIf a suspect went to another country, they could be arrested—but that's a very big "if."

Why a separate tribunal should be established for Putin

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The biggest problem with this issue is that it is much easier to blame a war crime on the soldier who commits it than on the commanders who gave them the order to shoot, the BBC continues.

But the ICC can also hold an individual accountable for "waging aggressive war."

This is the crime of an unjustified invasion or conflict, beyond justifiable military action in self-defense.

This term originated at Nuremberg, after the judge sent by Moscow convinced the Allies that the Nazis leaders should face justice for "crimes against peace".

QuoteHere's the problem: Professor Philippe Sands QC, an expert on international law at University College London, says the ICC couldn't prosecute Russia's leaders for this offense because the country isn't a signatory to the court.

In theory, the UN Security Council could ask the ICC to investigate this offense. But again, Russia could veto this as one of the council's five permanent members.

Are there other ways? The effectiveness of the ICC—and the way international law plays out in practice—depend not just on treaties, but politics and diplomacy.

Professor Sands and many other experts argue that like Nuremberg, the solution lies once more in diplomacy and international agreement.

He's calling for world leaders to set up a one-off tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression in Ukraine.

Why Kremlin is so clinging to Mariupol

Photo: facebook.com/MinistryofDefence.UA

Photo: facebook.com/MinistryofDefence.UA

The Times explains whycapruring Mariupol is so important to Vladimir Putin. The capture of the port city will allow Russia to create a land corridor between the territories controlled by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea.

For Moscow, this would ensure control over the Ukrainian coast of the Sea of Azov.

The prospect of an invasion has hung over Mariupol since April 2014 when separatists in Donetsk took up arms. Although a ceasefire declared in September 2014 raised hopes of an end to the fighting, in early 2015 a salvo of Grad rockets rained down on the city’s eastern district.

Yohann Michel, a research analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, explains that Mariupol had resisted an invasion ever since. However, it had remained a key objective for Russia.

Quote"If they capture Mariupol it will liberate forces from the front line and make them available for other operations. The military significance is enough for Ukrainians to worry," he said.

Pressure on the government and new offensives in the South

Photo: facebook.com/MinistryofDefence.UA

Photo: facebook.com/MinistryofDefence.UA

The port’s geographic position—10 kilometers from the areas controlled by the separatists—makes it strategically important, said Janes, a trusted source for defense intelligence.

Mariupol is an important industrial city with large steel and iron production facilities.

Quote"Moscow understands that taking the city and controlling the main port as well as important industries will put economic pressure on Ukraine’s government," Janes adds.

Its capture would also be militarily significant because it would immediately free up as many as six of Russia’s more capable battalion tactical groups, each up to 1,000 personnel strong, which are focused on taking Mariupol.

Quote"It will be significant where this freed-up resource is committed. The choices are northeast into the Ukrainian forces clinging on to parts on Donbas, up the center towards Dnipro, or reinforcing the thrust towards Odesa via Mykolaiv," said Justin Crump, an army reservist and military analyst.

If Mariupol falls: Isolation for the contact line

Photo: facebook.com/pressjfo.news

Photo: facebook.com/pressjfo.news

In a likely scenario, Ukrainian forces located along the former line of contact—the front line between Ukrainian forces and ORDLO militants before the invasion—would face either logistic isolation or encirclement.

Moscow would be able to unite the Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine with its troops in Crimea—also a symbolically important "feat" that would highlight Russia’s expansion.

Western officials stated that encircling the Ukrainian forces in the east was "paramount" to the success of the operation because that was where the most effective, capable and trained and equipped Ukrainian forces were in the country. Putin wants to encircle those forces to prevent them from interfering with a military operation" that Ukrainians have been experiencing for 15 days as a real genocide.


Instead of an afterword. The West is looking for new ways to stop Vladimir Putin's military aggression against Ukraine, including negotiations with Iran and the possibility of international courts. We have already reported that the trial in The Hague is a slow process that can take years. Taking into account the explanations of Western experts given by the BBC, punishing the Kremlin’s bloody leader and his inner circle, trembling at the mere thought of possible tribunals and the loss of their wealth, will not be easy.

In addition, the West analyzed the situation in Mariupol and understood why Putin took the whole city hostage and tolerates deaths of people from dehydration and cold, including small children, because for him this is a strategic point.

Meanwhile, while Western allies are looking for ways to hit the Kremlin’s economy harder, but not close the sky (which even President’s wife Olena Zelenska has already personally begged for—Ed. note) to prevent a major war, Ukrainians continue to defend their state.

In particular, the forces of Azov and the territorial defense units struck at the Russian columns moving in the direction of Brovary. Everything will be Ukraine, but every day the price paid is higher and more painful.

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