Iran will not stop its 20% uranium enrichment before the United States lifts all sanctions, Iranian state TV quoted an unnamed official as saying on Tuesday in reaction to a U.S. media report that Washington would offer a new proposal to jump-start talks. The Biden administration has been seeking to engage Iran in talks about both sides resuming compliance with the deal, under which economic sanctions on Tehran were removed in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear programme to make it harder to develop a nuclear weapon - an ambition Tehran denies.
Iran said its only nuclear power plant could stop operating this year as the country struggles to keep the unit running because of sanctions. The Bushehr nuclear power station is “facing the risk of shutdown” because U.S. banking restrictions have made it difficult for the Islamic Republic to transfer money and procure necessary equipment, Mahmoud Jafari, a deputy at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency.
If President Joe Biden is serious about rejoining the Iran nuclear deal, then the next few weeks could prove make-or-break as the politics in both Washington and Tehran appear poised to intensify. For now, however, Biden’s team is struggling just to get the Iranians to the table. proposal to jump-start the talks as soon as this week, two people familiar with the situation told POLITICO. The proposal asks Iran to halt some of its nuclear activities, such as work on advanced centrifuges and the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity, in exchange for some relief from U.S. economic sanctions, said one of the people, who stressed that the details are still being worked out.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
The United States is trying to break the nuclear deadlock with Iran and is planning a new proposal that would include some sanctions relief for the Islamic Republic, according to a report in Politico. Biden administration officials plan to put forth a new proposal to restart nuclear talks between Washington and Tehran as soon as this week, two people familiar with the situation told Politico. According to the report, the American proposal would ask Iran to stop some of its nuclear activities, such as work on advanced centrifuges and the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity, in exchange for some relief from US economic sanctions, said one of Politico's two sources.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
The proposed restrictions on the Washington Channel, along Fort McNair and near D.C.’s Wharf district, are not linked to recent reports that Iran has made threats against the U.S. military installation, an Army official said Monday. Fort McNair spokesman Col. Rob Phillips said the Army has for years sought to reinforce security along the post’s shoreline. The discussions to establish a restricted water zone began two years ago. “This is a constant process that we go through, reviewing threats,” Phillips said. “But the request that we’re doing with the Washington Channel is not directly tied to what was released by the AP.”
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Beijing and Tehran’s signing of a 25-year “strategic” cooperation agreement has triggered skepticism in Iran as the government of President Hassan Rouhani and officials close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei failed to give concrete details about the deal.Iranian officials rushed to calm public fears towards the agreement’s stipulations not being fully disclosed, but failed in preventing a surge of criticism of the move on social media platforms. The agreement is said to cover a variety of economic activity from oil and mining to promoting industrial activity in Iran, as well as transportation and agricultural collaborations.
IRANIAN REGIONAL AGGRESSION
What were earlier simply claims that Iran’s regime was using its loyalist armed militias in Iraq, Syria and Yemen as bargaining chips to gain more leverage in any prospective nuclear negotiations with the US are now acknowledged facts requiring no further proof. Instead, the discussion now is about the extent to which Tehran is willing to deploy its proxy militias across the region and instruct them to launch devastating offensive operations, ultimately leading to all-out war.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Israel’s National Security Agency on Monday advised tourists against travel to the United Arab Emirates and other countries across the region, citing the threat of attack by arch-enemy Iran. The warning included both Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE as well as Bahrain. Both Gulf Arab countries established diplomatic ties with Israel last year under historic U.S.-brokered agreements. “We estimate that Iran will continue to operate in the near future to harm Israeli targets,” the agency’s anti-terrorism office said in a statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to participate at a leaders’ climate summit organized by the Biden administration on April 22. With the summit online, Netanyahu will not get the chance to meet in person with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, also among the 40 leaders invited to the summit. For Netanyahu — if still at the helm of Israel — this would be a second wasted opportunity in just a few weeks. Israel’s prime minister had hoped to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his planned visit recently to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but the Saudis declined the meeting even before the visit itself got canceled.
CHINA & IRAN
Amos Yadlin, the former IDF chief of Military Intelligence, expressed concern on Monday about a reported clause in the 25-year strategic cooperation mega-deal signed by Iran and China that includes a commitment to military cooperation, with joint training, research and intelligence sharing. “One of the most worrying clauses in the agreement between Iran and China is the intelligence sharing,” the head of the Institute for National Security Studies told the Ynet news site.
IRAQ & IRAN
Iraq's intelligence service has warned it will prosecute those leveling baseless accusations against it, tarnishing its reputation and questioning the patriotism of its officers and employees. The warning from the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) came in an official statement on March 15, just one day after the head of an Iran-backed faction had accused it of politicization and of being infiltrated by foreign operatives. On March 15, Qais al-Khazali, head of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, accused the INIS of transferring 300 of its members to the Border Ports Authority for political purposes.