Iran Demands Legal Pledge That U.S. Won’t Quit Nuclear Deal Again

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Iran Demands Legal Pledge That U.S. Won’t Quit Nuclear Deal Again | The Wall Street Journal 

As the Biden administration tries to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, one of the biggest obstacles is Tehran’s demand that the U.S. provides a guarantee that it won’t again quit the pact and reimpose sanctions, diplomats involved in talks in Austria say. The demand, a reaction to former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, appears to be a paramount political objective for the government of Iran’s new hard-line president, U.S. and European diplomats here say. The diplomats said they don’t believe the demand is designed by Iran to simply drag out the talks. 

Iran Says Oil Sales Have Had A ‘Staggering’ Rise Over Past Year | Bloomberg 

Sales of Iranian crude oil, gas condensates and petrochemical products have risen dramatically in the past 10 months, the country’s oil minister said.  Addressing lawmakers in Tehran, Javad Owji said that Iran’s budget for the year to start March 21 has factored in daily oil sales of 1.2 million barrels, the ministry’s official Shana news agency reported on Sunday. No further details were provided, and exports weren’t mentioned. Iranian oil exports are subject to U.S. sanctions, and China remains Tehran’s only known customer. World powers are currently trying to revive the landmark 2015 nuclear deal which had eased sanctions on Iran’s crude exports. 

Iranian Diplomats Arrive In Saudi Arabia After Years | Associated Press 

Three Iranian diplomats have arrived in Saudi Arabia to represent Tehran in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, state TV reported Monday. The report said the diplomats arrived several days ago, marking the first time that Saudi Arabia is receiving diplomats from Iran since 2016. That’s when Saudi Arabia severed relations with the Islamic Republic after Iranian hardliners attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. The development reflects the potential for improving ties and a possible exchange of diplomats between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Jeddah is the permanent venue of the 57-member organization. 

UANI IN THE NEWS 

Former Iran Hostage Barry Rosen Goes On Hunger Strike To Campaign For Prisoners In Tehran | The National 

A survivor of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis will embark on a hunger strike in solidarity with those unlawfully detained by the Iranian regime. Barry Rosen, a senior adviser at the advocacy organisation United Against Nuclear Iran, said he will travel to Vienna on Tuesday to stage his protest. Officials are engaged in long-running talks with Tehran in the Austrian capital over a resurrection of the 2015 nuclear deal Iran agreed to with world powers. The hunger strike will mark 41 years since Mr Rosen’s release when, as the US press attache in Iran, he was one of 52 Americans held hostage at Washington’s embassy in Tehran for 444 days. 

Biden Administration Won’t End Iran Talks Despite Death Threats | National Review 

…Regime affiliates have long circulated explicit revenge threats in posts online, as well as through comments to state-media outlets, according to Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran. Although Iranian officials take care to avoid posting these threats to platforms, such as Twitter, that say they have policies against death threats, the threats are circulated elsewhere. One example of this is a poster circulated online by the office of Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, pledging that “revenge is certain” over Soleimani’s slaying. The poster, Brodsky told NR in a message, “is meant to be spread far and wide. The Office of the Supreme Leader controls a huge propaganda apparatus for this purpose.” 

'His Wife Can't Sleep, She Cries And Trembles': Princeton Scholar And Former Iranian Ambassador Smirks As He Gloats Over Regime's Threat To Murder US Special Envoy Over Trump-Ordered Killing Of Soleimani | Daily Mail 

…United Against a Nuclear Iran, an advocacy group critical of the Iranian regime, has pressured Princeton University president Christopher Eisgruber to fire Mousavian 'from any association or affiliation with Princeton without delay.' Mousavian 'sounded gleeful over the fact that American citizens and their families were concerned by death threats received from supporters of the Iranian regime,' former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I., Conn.) and former U.S. ambassador Mark Wallace, UANI's leaders, said in a statement. They added that Mousavian's involvement at Princeton is a 'stain on the university's reputation and credibility.' 

Beijing Latest Key Player In Nuclear Negotiations, Edging Closer Towards Tehran | JNS 

…Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran, told JNS that U.S. sanctions enforcement on Iran has been lax. “According to United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI)’s assessment, from January to September 2021, Iran exported almost 300 million barrels of crude oil and gas condensates. That is almost 100 million barrels more than the equivalent period in 2020,” he said. “In our calculations, comparing all of 2020 to 2021, Iran increased its export total by 123 million barrels—an increase of more than 40 percent. China is a big part of that increase.”

US Group Calls On Government, Donors To Stop Supporting Princeton | Iran International 

A US-based group has called on the government and donors to suspend financial support for Princeton University due to its inaction against a controversial Iranian scholar it employs. In a letter published on Thursday, the nonprofit advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) conveyed its deep concern to the president and board of trustees of Princeton regarding the university’s continued employment of Hossein Mousavian. UANI described him as “an agent of the Iranian regime” who is currently employed as a Middle East and nuclear policy specialist at the university. 

UANI Senior Advisor Barry Rosen On Fox News Live | Fox News 

On January 16, 2022, Barry Rosen, Survivor of the Iran Hostage Crisis (1979-1981) and UANI Senior Advisor, appeared on Fox News Live to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and the Islamic Republic's hostage diplomacy. "I believe sincerely that the international community has to make certain that if there's any relief of sanctions, first there needs to be the release of all the hostages. So to make that point, I'm going to Vienna next week and to stage a hunger strike on behalf of these hostages. The hostages should not be forgotten and they shouldn't be an afterthought in anybody's mind." "No deals with Iran unless the hostages are free." 

UANI Chairman Sen. Joe Lieberman Interview On Maria Maaloof TV | Maria Maaloof Tv 

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM 

EU, Russia Expect Iran Atomic Deal As Beijing Holds Talks | Bloomberg 

The top diplomats from the European Union and Kremlin said they expect world powers will salvage the landmark accord limiting Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief as the latest round of talks grinds on. The comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov came as his Iranian counterpart met officials in China, which has hosted a series of meetings this week with top Middle East envoys to discuss regional security and economic cooperation. The eighth round of negotiations to reboot the 2015 nuclear accord -- scuttled almost four years ago by the Trump administration -- is concluding its third week in Vienna. 

China Calls On U.S. To ‘Correct Mistake’ On Iran Nuclear Issue | Bloomberg 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the U.S. to take responsibility for withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, as Beijing seeks an expanded role in current negotiations. Wang Yi told Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian that the U.S. should assume the “main responsibility” and “correct its mistake” of backing away from the nuclear deal as soon as possible, according to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, reiterating China’s position that the U.S. should move first to revive the 2015 agreement. 

Blinken Says 'A Few Weeks' Left For Iran To Resume Nuclear Compliance | Al Monitor 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said only “a few weeks” remain to bring Iran back into compliance and salvage the landmark nuclear deal before the United States considers its “other options.” Blinken’s comments came as talks continue between Tehran and world powers over the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which granted Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. Iran began violating those restrictions after former President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and reimposed economic sanctions. 

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS  

China Slams U.S. Sanctions On Iran As Cooperation Agreement Launched | Reuters 

China reaffirmed its opposition to unilateral sanctions by the United States against Iran as the Chinese and Iranian foreign ministers announced the launch of a 25-year cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening economic and political ties. In a meeting on Friday in the city of Wuxi, in Jiangsu province, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also backed efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran. A summary of the meeting between Wang and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was posted on China's foreign ministry website on Saturday. 

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS 

Iran Confirms Jailing Of French-Iranian Academic Again | Radio Free Europe 

Iranian authorities confirmed that they have re-incarcerated French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah for breaking house arrest restrictions. The judiciary news website Mizan.news on January 16 quoted the deputy head of the judiciary, Kazem Gharibabadi, as saying Adelkhah, who had been furloughed with an electronic-monitoring bracelet, violated judicial restrictions “dozens of times.” The official claimed that Adelkhah, 62, violated the limits of her house arrest “despite repeated warnings from judicial authorities.” 

Niece Of Iran's Supreme Leader Imprisoned In Tehran – Report | The Jerusalem Post 

Farideh Moradkhani, the niece of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, was arrested in Tehran on Thursday and transferred to Evin Prison, where many political prisoners are held, according to reports published over the weekend. Moradkhani's brother, Mahmoud, who lives in France, confirmed the arrest to Iran International. According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), there is no information available as of yet concerning the reasons for the arrest or any charges brought against Moradkhani. 

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS 

Twitter Bans Account Linked To Iran’s Supreme Leader Over Trump Assassination Threat | New York Post 

Twitter permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader after it promoted a video depicting the assassination of former President Donald Trump, according to a report. “The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told Agence France-Presse on Saturday, referring to the account @KhameneiSite. The social media giant said its top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of conversations on the platform. 

CHINA & IRAN 

Iran Seeks Closer Ties With China As Nuclear Talks Drag On | The Wall Street Journal 

As talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal continue, the Islamic Republic is trying to strengthen ties with China, Russia and other nations that could help it get around American sanctions that are battering its economy. On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, discussed the implementation of a wide-ranging economic and security cooperation agreement signed between the two countries in Tehran early last year, among other issues, according to his ministry in Tehran. The two diplomats also discussed the current state of the talks to revive the 2015 pact in Vienna, it said in a statement. 

IRAQ & IRAN 

Iraqi Cleric's Push To Sideline Iran-Backed Factions Risks Clash | Reuters 

Iraq might for the first time in years get a government that excludes Iran-backed parties if a powerful populist cleric who dominated a recent election keeps his word, Iraqi politicians, government officials and independent analysts say. But moves by the Shi'ite Muslim cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, to sideline rivals long backed by Tehran risks the ire of their heavily armed militia that make up some of the most powerful and most anti-American military forces in Iraq, they say. 

OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS     

Iran Looking For ‘Safe Channel’ To Pay UN Dues To Regain Vote | Al Jazeera

Iran is once more trying to find channels to pay its dues to the United Nations despite sanctions by the United States to regain its lost voting rights. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has always been committed to pay for its membership on time and we have shown this in action before,” Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s permanent representative to the UN, said late on Friday, adding that the country is looking for a “safe channel” to make its payment to the organisation. “Unfortunately, for a second year we are facing hurdles in making our payments and that is because of the cruel US sanctions … the funds are there in our accounts abroad but can’t be accessed.”