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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif are scheduled to address a U.N. Security Council meeting Tuesday on the implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — the accord that the Trump administration pulled out of more than two years ago.

The long-scheduled open meeting of the U.N.’s most powerful body comes a day after Iran issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining President Donald Trump and dozens of others it believes carried out the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad earlier this year. Trump faces no danger of arrest and Interpol later said it would not consider Iran’s request.

However, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States since Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal with world powers in 2018 and re-imposed crippling U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

The five other powers that signed the nuclear deal — Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany — remain committed to it, saying the agreement is key to continuing inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and preventing Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.

A key issue at Tuesday’s virtual Security Council meeting is expected to be a provision in the resolution endorsing the nuclear deal that calls for the termination of the U.N. arms embargo against Iran in mid-October. The Trump administration is vehemently opposed to lifting the arms embargo.

In a report this month, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the United Nations has determined that Iran was the source for several items in two arms shipments seized by the U.S., and for debris left by attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations and an international airport.

He also said some of the items seized by the U.S. in November 2019 and February 2020 “were identical or similar” to those found after cruise missiles and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in 2019.

The Trump administration is expected to seize on the findings to argue that Iran cannot be trusted and that the embargo must be extended.

The administration has also cited Iran’s continued support to proxies in the Middle East, along with what the U.N. nuclear watchdog has found to be Iranian violations of the accord. U.S. officials have threatened to demand the re-imposition of all U.N. sanctions on Iran unless the embargo is extended.

The U.S. has circulated a draft Security Council resolution that would indefinitely extend the arms embargo and Pompeo is expected to present the administration’s case Tuesday.

The administration has won only tepid support from allies, and European countries are expected to present a counter-proposal that would extend at least parts of the embargo for six months. It is not clear if either the U.S. or Russia and China would support such a proposal.

Iran has vehemently denounced the U.S. effort and said the embargo must be lifted completely as scheduled, and that any violations of the deal are due to the U.S. withdrawal from the accord and sanctions imposed on Tehran. Iran’s Zarif is scheduled to address the council shortly after Pompeo speaks.

Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Ravanchi said last Thursday that he believes the U.S. resolution to extend the arms embargo against his country will be defeated and warned it would be “a very, very big mistake” if Washington then tries to re-impose U.N. sanctions.

Ravanchi said restoring U.N. sanctions will end the 2015 nuclear deal and release Tehran from all its commitments.

“If that happens, Iran will not be under constraint as to what course of action it should take,” he said reporters. “All options for Iran will be open.”

___

Lee reported from Washington.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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Masvidal extremely happy with deal to face Usman as UFC books title fight fans wanted all along

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LAS VEGAS — Dana White’s philosophy in promoting fights over the last two decades plus can be summed up by six simple words:

Give the people what they want.

And by quickly agreeing to a deal with Jorge Masvidal on Sunday to challenge Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title in the new main event of UFC 251 at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, the UFC president proved yet again why his company is clearly one of the so-called Big Four sports in the U.S.

The UFC has a long way to go — a long, long, long way — to catch the NFL and the NBA in the U.S. And lets face it, it’s never going to catch soccer in terms of worldwide popularity.

But this long-held notion that the Big Four in the U.S. are the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball and the NHL is well past its sell-by date.

A little more than a decade ago, a few days before the UFC’s first event in Vancouver, British Columbia, a knot of reporters squeezed around White in the bowels of what was then known as GM Place following the news conference.

Many of them were hockey writers who took the opportunity to find out a little more about this sport that was gaining so much attention.

One of the reporters innocently asked White, “Do you think there will ever come a day when the UFC is as big as hockey?”

White broke into a huge grin and then chortled at the very thought of the question. In his mind, the UFC had surpassed hockey long before.

There was at least some doubt then. But what White has managed to do during his second decade of ownership of the world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion is to consistently confound the skeptics.

Usman versus Masvidal is the fight he wanted to make all along. He sent them to the Super Bowl in February to cruise radio row in anticipation of a fight during International Fight Week at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in July.

The UFC couldn’t come to terms with Masvidal on a deal, though, and he withheld his services until he said he was paid what he felt he was worth.

© Provided by Yahoo! Sports Jorge Masvidal celebrates his win over Ben Askren in their welterweight fight during the UFC 239 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 6, 2019 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC)

So the UFC simply turned to Gilbert Burns, who might have been the hottest fighter in the sport at the time, to challenge Usman. He was coming off of a win over ex-champion Tyron Woodley that was stunning in its comprehensiveness. Burns was better than Woodley — far better — in every aspect of the game.

And a guy who was just another face in the crowd at the beginning of the year was suddenly perceived as a very real threat to defeat Usman and become the UFC champion.

Burns arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday and was set to leave Friday to fly to Fight Island. But Burns and Usman weren’t on the plane because, as it turned out, Burns, his brother, Herbert, and one of his corner people, all tested positive for COVID-19.

The fight was off, and it created something of a crisis for the UFC because the best fight of its biggest and most high-profile show was gone. It was a good card with the rematch between Alex Volkanovski and Max Holloway for the featherweight title as the main event and the bout for the vacant bantamweight title between Petr Yan and Jose Aldo as the co-main.

It’s a great card, though, with Usman-Masvidal on the top of the marquee, and White made it happen.

These are the times when White’s at his best, when he’s facing a potential crisis and needs to make something dramatic with next-to-no time to do it.

Details of Masvidal’s new deal weren’t released and because neither Masvidal nor Usman has passed their COVID-19 tests, White and UFC officials aren’t commenting. But Masvidal manager Malki Kawa confirmed to Yahoo Sports that the BMF champion “is extremely happy” with the deal to fight Usman.

UFC 251 will be the ninth show the UFC has promoted since it got back to work after the pandemic-inspired stoppage. In that time, it’s staged three fights that are in the debate for Fight of the Year and several more which were amazingly entertaining.

At UFC Vegas 3 on June 23, Josh Emmett defeated Shane Burgos in a mind-blowing battle that moved alongside the women’s strawweight title between between Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk as the front-runners for Fight of the Year.

Seven days later, Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker staged a classic that in some quarters became the front-runner for Fight of the Year and, at least temporarily, made many forget about the classic for the interim title six weeks prior between Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson.

Even when it doesn’t have big names on the cards, the UFC delivers electrifying action. There were many grumblings on social media when Cynthia Calvillo and Jessica Eye headlined UFC on Vegas 2 on June 13 at Apex. Some dared to call it the worst card the UFC had ever put together.

But then, the first three fights ended in 59 seconds, 32 seconds and 22 seconds in a flurry of jaw-dropping violence that left those watching deliriously happy. In all, there were five first-round finishes on that show.

The following week was Emmett and Burgos and the week after that it was Poirier and Hooker.

Now, White swoops in and brings Masvidal back into the fold and while NBA and MLB players are opting out of their seasons and the NFL tries to figure out how to get going, the UFC stands to have a massive pay-per-view headlined by the fight its fans wanted to see more than any other.

White and his company doesn’t allow injuries or illnesses or a pandemic or skeptics or holdouts or anything else to get in the way of a great fight card. To use an old football coach’s line, it’s next man (or woman) up, as far as White is concerned.

If there are fireworks, as expected, in the main event on Saturday, just remember how close we might have been to no card at all.

For all the great work he’s done since purchasing the UFC in 2001, this may well be White’s finest hour.

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