US eyes major rollback of Iran sanctions to revive nuclear deal

US eyes major rollback of Iran sanctions to revive nuclear deal
American officials open to lifting penalties tied to terrorism, missile development, human rights; relief would likely anger Israel, Gulf states By MATTHEW LEEToday, 1:26 am   People walk in front …

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Follow us on Social Media/Videos US eyes major rollback of Iran sanctions to revive nuclear deal

American officials open to lifting penalties tied to terrorism, missile development, human rights; relief would likely anger Israel, Gulf states

People walk in front of a currency exchange shop in the Iranian capital Tehran on August 8, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE)

People walk in front of a currency exchange shop in the Iranian capital Tehran on August 8, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is considering a near wholesale rollback of some of the most stringent Trump-era sanctions imposed on Iran in a bid to get the Islamic Republic to return to compliance with a landmark 2015 nuclear accord, according to current and former US officials and others familiar with the matter.

As indirect talks continue this week in Vienna to explore the possibility of reviving the nuclear deal, American officials have become increasingly expansive about what they might be prepared to offer Iran, which has been driving a hard line on sanctions relief, demanding that all US penalties be removed, according to these people.

American officials have refused to discuss which sanctions are being considered for removal. But they have stressed that they are open to lifting non-nuclear sanctions, such as those tied to terrorism, missile development and human rights, in addition to those related to the nuclear program.

Biden administration officials say this is necessary because of what they describe as a deliberate attempt by the Trump administration to stymie any return to the deal. Under the 2015 agreement, the United States was required to lift sanctions tied to Iran’s nuclear program, but not the non-nuclear sanctions.

Abbas Araghchi, political deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, is leaving the ‘Grand Hotel Wien’ after the closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna on April 16, 2021, where diplomats of the EU, China, Russia and Iran hold their talks. (JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

When former president Donald Trump re-imposed sanctions after withdrawing from the deal in 2018, he not only put the nuclear sanctions back in but also added layers of terrorism and other sanctions on many of the same entities. In addition, the Trump administration imposed an array of new sanctions on previously unsanctioned entities.

This has put the current administration in an awkward position: Iran is demanding the removal of all sanctions. If the US doesn’t lift at least some of them, Iran says it won’t agree to halt its nuclear activities barred by the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

But if the Biden administration makes concessions that go beyond the nuclear-specific sanctions, Republican critics and others, including Israel and Gulf Arab states, are likely to seize on them as proof that the administration is caving to Iran. Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo has led the charge among Trump alumni to denounce any easing of sanctions. warsclerotic.com read more

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