Biden steps up pressure on Iran as he grapples with protests – .

Iran says US has agreed to lift oil and shipping sanctions – .

The Biden administration wants to step up pressure on Iran amid stalled talks to join the nuclear deal, but internal calculations in Tehran are hard to predict as the country faces growing unrest at home.
Options on the table for the United States, which are expected to include tighter restrictions on Iran’s oil exports as well as new sanctions on its missile and drone programs, are likely to escalate tensions amid several months of efforts to relaunch the joint global plan. Action Plan (JCPOA), the official name for the Obama-era nuclear deal that the United States left in 2018 asPresident TrumpDonald Trump Meghan McCain Democrats ‘Should Give Trump Some Credit’ For COVID-19 Vaccine Trump Testing Tsar Warns Blockages Could Be On The Table If People Don’t Get Vaccinated Overnight Health Care: The Tsar Warns CDC Details Massachusetts Outbreak That Triggered Mask Update | White House says national vaccine mandate “not under review at this time” MORE.

The United States has warned that negotiations cannot go on indefinitely and called on Iran for not agreeing to a seventh round of indirect talks in Vienna, more than two months after the last round ended.

Meanwhile, growing protests in Iran over water and electricity shortages are drawing the attention of the international community. At least nine people, including a teenager, were killed during the protests, Human Rights Watch said. Nearly 200 arrests have taken place.

Naysan Rafati, senior Iranian analyst at the International Crisis Group, said Iranian leaders were likely engaged in an important debate over whether to join the JCPOA for immediate sanctions relief due to the domestic unrest, or to continue nuclear provocations in an attempt to demand concessions from the West.

In recent months, Iran has stepped up nuclear activity well beyond the constraints of the deal, increasing its stockpile of nuclear material and infrastructure critical to building a bomb. Even though Iran has eliminated excess materials that can be used to make a bomb, it has gained key operational knowledge that is irreversible.

“If you’re sitting in Tehran, you have a choice right now… do you look at the circumstances right now and look at the negotiations in Vienna, and say to yourself, ‘we’ve made progress on these talks, the the imperative of reducing sanctions is there, and let’s end these negotiations? ” ” He asked.

“The risk is also that the Iranians are considering increasing their strategy at the edge at this time … the United States can do so much more on the sanctions front,” he added.

Secretary of State Antoine BlinkAntony Blinken More than 180 local employees working at the US embassy and consulates in Russia have been sacked Duterte reinstates pact authorizing US war exercises Blinken urges Tunisian president to get the country back on “democratic track as quickly as possible” MORE, in an interview with Sky News Arabia in Kuwait on Thursday, blamed Tehran for not coming back to the table, saying the United States was monitoring the protests.

“We believe it is in our interest and in Iran’s interest to come back into compliance with the nuclear deal, the JCPOA. But it really depends on Iran’s decision to do it. This decision has not yet been made, ”he said.

“During this time, of course, we have seen protests in Iran that have started outside Tehran; they have now come to Tehran, ”Blinken added, describing them as“ the people’s deep frustration with the government’s failure to meet their basic needs ”.

“And, of course, we support the Iranian people in the desire to make their voices heard, and we urge – strongly urge the government not to use violence and repression to silence those voices,” he said. .

Protests began on July 15 in southwest Iran’s Khuzestan province, with protesters taking to the streets to blame government mismanagement for water shortages. The protests turned into mass frustration across the country and against Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Videos of protesters posted on social media include chants of “Death to the Dictator,” “Shame on Khamenei, let go of the country” and slogans criticizing Iran’s support for proxy combat forces in the region, according to reports. Voice of America reports. and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

It is not known if the protests have any effect on the Iranian regime’s calculations regarding the potential return of negotiations with the United States and other JCPOA participants including France, Germany, United Kingdom, Russia. , China and the European Union.

Denis RossDennis Alan Ross Biden’s quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting escalates Biden must tear down bureaucratic walls and refocus Middle East programs Balancing: Biden must redefine the US-Saudi relationship MORE, who served as a special assistant to former President Obama and a distinguished fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote on Twitter that he expects the protests to put pressure on the Iranian regime to return to the JCPOA later this year.

“Protesters chanting ‘I’m thirsty’ is a fundamental sign of failure. Sanctions relief is a growing need; Expect Iran to return to the JCPOA by the fall, ”he tweeted.

The Biden administration has said it is ready to lift sanctions that are inconsistent with the original terms of the nuclear deal, which could give a key influx of money to Tehran’s rulers under public pressure.

But he also called on Iran to pledge to continue negotiations on its ballistic weapons program and to support proxy combat forces in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and the Gaza Strip.

Washington appears to be preparing for a parallel pressure campaign, with a senior official telling the Wall Street Journal that the administration is considering sanctions that affect Iran’s ability to build precision-guided drones and missiles.

This is in addition to sanctions imposed by the administration on Chinese imports of Iranian crude oil, also reported by the Journal.

Robert Einhorn, senior researcher at the Brookings Institution’s Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative, said the United States and Iran are likely to resume negotiations after President-elect Ibrahim is inaugurated Raisi, scheduled for August 5, but they face significant differences.

“There will be a resumption of talks but it is not at all clear that the negotiations will go smoothly,” he said. “Raisi has been very clear, and most Iranians have been very clear, that even if the JCPOA is re-established, they have no stake in the follow-up negotiations. “

Khamenei, in remarks reported on Wednesday, stepped up criticism of “the West”, calling them “enemies” and condemning the US demand for follow-up negotiations as a pretext for moving away from the JCPOA.

“By uttering this sentence, they want to justify their subsequent interventions on the principle of [the deal] and the missile program and regional issues, ”Khamenei said, according to the Associated Press. “If Iran refuses to discuss it, they will say you violated the deal and the deal is over.


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