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Biden may ease pressure on Iran to rescue the defunct nuclear deal

Details of negotiations with Iran suggest the Biden administration is willing to make significant concessions to revive the past nuclear deal, even as shocking Iranian-inspired assassination plots, including the attack on Salman Rushdie, unfold on US soil.

This week, after indirect talks between the US and Iran in Vienna, EU officials presented a “final” proposal to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew four years ago.

Parts of a leaked draft text suggest it would lift American sanctions against Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and clear the way for Tehran to prevent further testing of its suspected atomic sites, Politico reported Friday afternoon.

Although it is technically an EU proposal, European officials have been working closely with the US delegation in the negotiations, and are believed to have agreed to the terms proposed by Washington.

The proposal appeared to signal President Joe Biden’s willingness to make significant concessions, particularly regarding the Revolutionary Guard, which the US designates as a foreign terrorist organization.

Details of negotiations with Iran suggest the Biden administration may be willing to make significant concessions to revive the defunct nuclear deal

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is seen above. Iran has already expressed a positive response to the EU proposal presented this week, which will ease sanctions related to the Revolutionary Guard.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is seen above. Iran has already expressed a positive response to the EU proposal presented this week, which will ease sanctions related to the Revolutionary Guard.

Biden's special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, tweeted that he denied the US would change its sanctions enforcement standards.

Biden’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, tweeted that he denied the US would change its sanctions enforcement standards.

Iran has already responded favorably to the deal, but it comes amid disturbing assassination plots that appear to be inspired by Tehran.

Author Salman Rushdie was stabbed in New York on Friday, apparently by an Iranian sympathizer, and a member of the Revolutionary Guard has been accused of plotting to kill former US officials this week.

Biden took office two years ago vowing to revive the defunct nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which imposed curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and promised to negotiate a stronger deal, but left office without meeting that goal.

Following Politico’s report on the terms of the new EU proposal, Biden’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, tweeted a furious denial that the US would change its sanctions enforcement standards.

“To be clear: We have not entered into any negotiations on changing due diligence, know-your-customer, or other US sanctions compliance standards for sanctions that would fall under reciprocal reciprocity to implement the full JCPOA,” he wrote.

“The report to the contrary is completely wrong,” Malley added.

Author Salman Rushdie is taken on a stretcher to a helicopter to be taken to hospital after being attacked at a speech in New York state's century.

Author Salman Rushdie is taken on a stretcher to a helicopter to be taken to hospital after being attacked at a speech in New York state’s century.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Reza Najafi, left, and Iranian AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, right, leave the JCPOA negotiations on August 5.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Reza Najafi, left, and Iranian AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, right, leave the JCPOA negotiations on August 5.

The sun sets behind the Palais Coburg in Vienna, Austria, where closed-door negotiations to revive the JCPOA have been taking place for months.

The sun sets behind the Palais Coburg in Vienna, Austria, where closed-door negotiations to revive the JCPOA have been taking place for months.

However, Politico reports that the EU proposal would allow Europeans and other non-Americans to do business with Iranian entities engaged in “transactions” with the Revolutionary Guard without fear of triggering US sanctions.

Today, agreements of this nature would trigger US sanctions, a measure intended to punish and isolate the Revolutionary Guard.

The EU proposal reads: “Non-U.S. persons doing business with non-Iranian persons [U.S. sanctions list] shall not be subject to sanctions solely as a result of Iranian persons participating in separate transactions involving Iranian persons. [U.S. sanctions list] (including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)), its officials or its subordinates or affiliates).’

A senior Iranian diplomat has already said the EU deal “could be acceptable” if it provides guarantees on Tehran’s main demands, state news agency IRNA said on Friday.

Iranian official Shahram Poursafi is accused of plotting to kill John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

Iranian official Shahram Poursafi is accused of plotting to kill John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

IRNA quoted an unidentified Iranian diplomat as saying that Tehran was considering the proposal. “The EU’s proposals can be accepted if Iran is given certainty on the issues of guarantees, sanctions and guarantees,” the diplomat said.

The Islamic Republic has sought assurances that a future US president would not renege on the deal should it be revived, as Trump did in 2018.

However, Biden cannot make such guarantees because the deal is a political agreement rather than a legally binding treaty.

A senior Shiite Muslim cleric, in a sermon during Friday prayers that often echoes the state line, said Tehran insisted on obtaining verifiable guarantees to lift US sanctions under a revived deal, according to Iranian state television.

“We insist on getting the necessary assurances, removal of sanctions and verification, and if this is achieved, our negotiating team will tell the people that the sanctions have been lifted thanks to your resistance and power,” Kazem Seddiqi said during Friday prayers. The capital, Tehran, according to state television.

Washington has said it is ready to quickly reach an agreement based on the EU’s proposals to restore the deal.

Iranian officials said that after consultations in Tehran, they would convey their “additional views and considerations” to the EU, which is coordinating the talks.

The prosecutor says that Shahram Poursafi has not been identified

Prosecutors say Shahram Poursafi is offering unidentified “criminal elements” in the United States $300,000 to carry out Bolton’s murder.

Shahram Poursafi allegedly sent these images of money to the alleged assailant

Shahram Poursafi allegedly sent these images of money to the alleged assailant

A senior EU official said no further changes could be made to the text, which has been under negotiation for 15 months. He said he expected the parties’ final decision “in a very, very few weeks”.

The pact, originally created in 2015, appeared to be revived in March. Under the 2015 deal, Iran curbed its disputed uranium enrichment program, a possible path to nuclear weapons, in exchange for relief from US, EU and UN sanctions.

But during 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and the Biden administration in Vienna, Iran has notably demanded that Washington remove its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps from the US Foreign Terrorist Organization list.

The United States on Wednesday charged a member of the Revolutionary Guard with plotting to kill John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, although Washington said it did not believe the charges should affect talks with Tehran.

Prosecutors say Shahram Poursafi is providing unidentified “criminal elements” in the United States to carry out the $300,000 contract killing.

The alleged plan was launched in retaliation for the January 2020 killing of top US Guard commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, the department said.

The DOJ said it was willing to pay Poursafi $1 million for a second “job,” but did not identify any other targets in the plot.

Trump-era Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the second target, according to Morgan Ortagus, who served as a State Department spokesman during his tenure.

Biden may ease pressure on Iran to rescue the defunct nuclear deal

Source link Biden may ease pressure on Iran to rescue the defunct nuclear deal

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