Monday, 30 Jan 2023 - 8 of Shevat, 5783
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Nuclear deal with Iran is ‘dead’, said U.S. President Biden as Tehran continues crackdown on protesters and supports Russia in its war against Ukraine

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Negotiations on renewing the deal have been ongoing for months, but no agreement has been reached. Tehran’s crackdown on protesters, its support for Russia’s war on Ukraine and its positions on its nuclear program all make reviving a deal out of the question.

 

While U.S. President Joseph Biden said on the sidelines of a Nov. 4 election rally that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is “dead,” Iranian  Foreign Minister, Hussein Amir-Abdollahian, told a regional conference in Jordan that Tehran would back a revival of the nuclear deal, but only as long as its red lines were respected.

Abdollahian said he told EU foreign policy chief sentative Josep Borrell that Iran, keeping to its red lines, was “ready to reach the last step, provided all sides be realistic.”

Biden made his remarks about the nuclear deal in a short conversation with a woman who attended an election rally in Oceanside, California. A video surfaced showing the conversation. The woman asked the president to announce that the deal with Iran is dead, he responded that he would not “for a lot of reasons.” But then he added: “It is dead, but we are not gonna announce it. Long story.” The woman replied that the Iranian regime doesn’t represent the people. “I know they don’t represent you. But they will have a nuclear weapon that they’ll represent,” Biden said.

In late October, U.S. envoy for Iran Rob Malley said that the administration is not going to “waste time” on trying to revive the Iran nuclear deal at this time considering Tehran’s crackdown on protesters, Iranian support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, and Iran’s positions on its nuclear program.

The JCPOA is not our focus right now. It’s not on the agenda,” said a White House National Security Council officlal.

Negotiations on renewing the deal have been ongoing for months, but no agreement has been reached. Tehran’s crackdown on protesters, its support for Russia’s war on Ukraine and its positions on its nuclear program all make reviving a deal out of the question.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who assumed a coordinator rol in talks with Iran, condemned Iran’s support for Russia in its war in Ukraine and the ongoing repression of opposition in the country, but said the EU would continue to work with Iran on restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“Necessary meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in Jordan amidst deteriorating Iran-EU relations,” Borrell tweeted in the framework of a regional conference being hosted by Jordan this week.

“Stressed need to immediately stop military support to Russia and internal repression in Iran. Agreed we must keep communication open and restore JCPOA on basis of Vienna negotiations,” he added.

The European Union and the United States have imposed new sanctions on Iranian officials over Iran’s crackdown on the unrest ignited by the death of young Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police in September.

The protests by Iranians from all walks of life mark one of the boldest challenges to the ruling theocracy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran accuses Western powers of fomenting the unrest, which security forces have met with deadly violence.

Last week, the EU expressed its support ‘’for the fundamental aspiration of the people of Iran for a future where their universal human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected, protected and fulfilled.’’

‘’In this context, the European Union acknowledges the leading role of women and youth in calling for the defence of these norms and values. The European Union strongly condemns the widespread, brutal and disproportionate use of force by the Iranian authorities against peaceful protesters, including women and children, leading to the loss of hundreds of lives, in clear breach of the fundamental principles enshrined in international law,’’ the 27 EU Foreign Ministers said in a statement.

The European Union also urged Iran ‘’to cease these destabilising activities in the form of political, military or financial support, including to non-state actors, in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.’’

EU Foreign Ministers last week approved a new round of sanctions against Iran over the regime’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protests.

The EU targeted 29 individuals and three entities with asset freezes and travel bans for their role in both the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest by the country’s morality police and the violent response to the subsequent demonstrations that swept the country.

The newly-sanctioned individuals include four members of the squad that arbitrarily arrested Amini, provincial heads of the Iranian Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) and of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and Brigadier General Kiyumars Heidari, the Commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces.

Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi and Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid, the head of the Iranian Cyber Police, were also targeted, the latter for “his responsibility in arbitrarily arresting people for expressing online criticism of the Iranian regime.”

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