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Biden could ease pressure on Iran to rescue defunct nuclear deal

Leaked details of negotiations with Iran suggest the Biden administration is willing to make significant concessions to revive the defunct nuclear deal, even as shocking Iranian-inspired assassination plots, including an attack on Salman Rushdie, take place on U.S. soil.

This week, after days of indirect talks between the US and Iran in Vienna, EU officials came up with a ‘final’ proposal to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which former President Donald Trump unilaterally agreed to four years ago. had withdrawn.

Fragments of a leaked version of the text suggest it would weaken US sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and clear a path for Tehran to avoid further investigation of its suspected nuclear sites, Politics reported Friday evening.

While it is technically an EU proposal, European officials have worked closely with the US delegation during the negotiations and are believed to have signed Washington’s proposed terms.

The proposal seemed to indicate President Joe Biden’s willingness to make significant concessions — particularly with regard to the Revolutionary Guards, which the US designates as a foreign terrorist organization.

Leaked details of negotiations with Iran suggest the Biden administration could be willing to make significant concessions to revive defunct nuclear deal

Leaked details of negotiations with Iran suggest the Biden administration could be willing to make significant concessions to revive defunct nuclear deal

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, can be seen above.  Iran has already responded positively to the EU proposal tabled this week that would ease sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, can be seen above.  Iran has already responded positively to the EU proposal tabled this week that would ease sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, can be seen above. Iran has already responded positively to the EU proposal tabled this week that would ease sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards

Biden's special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, tweeted furious denials that the US would change its standards for enforcing sanctions

Biden's special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, tweeted furious denials that the US would change its standards for enforcing sanctions

Biden’s special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, tweeted furious denials that the US would change its standards for enforcing sanctions

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

On Friday, author Salman Rushdie was stabbed in New York by an apparent Iranian sympathizer, and this week a Revolutionary Guard member was charged with conspiracy to assassinate former US officials.

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

Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, promising to negotiate a stronger agreement, but left office without accomplishing that goal.

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

“To be clear, we have not negotiated changing due diligence, know-your-customer, or other U.S. sanctions compliance standards for sanctions that would remain under a reciprocal return to full JCPOA implementation,” he wrote.

“Any statement to the contrary is plain wrong,” added Malley.

Author Salman Rushdie is stretchered to a helicopter for transport to a hospital after being attacked while lecturing in upstate New York

Author Salman Rushdie is stretchered to a helicopter for transport to a hospital after being attacked while lecturing in upstate New York

Author Salman Rushdie is stretchered to a helicopter for transport to a hospital after being attacked while lecturing in upstate New York

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Reza Najafi, left, and Iranian AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, right, leave JCPOA negotiations on Aug. 5

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Reza Najafi, left, and Iranian AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, right, leave JCPOA negotiations on Aug. 5

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Reza Najafi, left, and Iranian AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, right, leave JCPOA negotiations on Aug. 5

The sun sets behind the Palais Coburg in Vienna, Austria, where negotiations have been going on behind closed doors for months to revive the JCPOA

The sun sets behind the Palais Coburg in Vienna, Austria, where negotiations have been going on behind closed doors for months to revive the JCPOA

The sun sets behind the Palais Coburg in Vienna, Austria, where negotiations have been going on behind closed doors for months to revive the JCPOA

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

Currently, such deals would lead to US sanctions, a measure designed to punish and isolate the Revolutionary Guards.

The EU proposal reads: “Non-US persons doing business with Iranian persons not on the… [U.S. sanctions list] will not be subject to sanctions solely as a result of those Iranian persons entering into separate transactions with Iranian persons on the [U.S. sanctions list] (including the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its officers or its subsidiaries or affiliates).’

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

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

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

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

IRNA quoted the unidentified Iranian diplomat as saying Tehran was reviewing the proposal. “Proposals from the EU may be acceptable if they provide Iran with certainty on safeguards, sanctions and guarantees,” the diplomat said.

The Islamic Republic has sought assurances that no future US president would forgo the deal if it were revived, as Trump did in 2018.

Biden cannot offer such rock-solid guarantees, however, because the deal is a political agreement rather than a legally binding treaty.

A leading Shia Muslim cleric said in a Friday prayer sermon that typically marks the state line that Tehran was pushing for verifiable assurances that US sanctions would be lifted under a revived deal, Iranian state television said.

“We insist on getting the necessary guarantees, lifting the sanctions and lifting the 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 in the capital Tehran, according to state television.

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

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

Prosecutors say Shahram Poursafi has offered unidentified 'criminal elements' in the United States $300,000 to carry out Bolton's contract murder

Prosecutors say Shahram Poursafi has offered unidentified 'criminal elements' in the United States $300,000 to carry out Bolton's contract murder

Prosecutors say Shahram Poursafi has offered unidentified ‘criminal elements’ in the United States $300,000 to carry out Bolton’s contract murder

Shahram Poursafi is said to have sent the alleged hit man these images of money

Shahram Poursafi is said to have sent the alleged hit man these images of money

Shahram Poursafi is said to have sent the alleged hit man these images of money

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

The pact, originally signed in 2015, appeared to have a rebound in March. Under the 2015 agreement, Iran curtailed its controversial uranium enrichment program, a potential route to nuclear weapons, in exchange for relief from US, EU and UN sanctions.

But 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and the Biden administration in Vienna were muddled, mainly by Iran’s insistence that Washington remove its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps from its list of US foreign terrorist organizations.

On Wednesday, the United States charged a member of the Revolutionary Guards with conspiracy to assassinate John Bolton, a national security adviser to Trump, although Washington said it did not believe the charges would affect nuclear talks with Tehran.

Prosecutors say Shahram Poursafi has offered unidentified “criminal elements” in the United States $300,000 to carry out the contract murder.

The alleged plan was likely intended in retaliation for the US assassination of Guardsman Qassem Soleimani in Iraq in January 2020, the ministry said.

The DOJ said Poursafi was also willing to pay $1 million for a second “job,” but failed to identify the other target in the plot.

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

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