By: Hany Ghoraba | CCNS
The current, bumpy negotiations aimed at preventing the Iranian regime from developing nuclear weapons are among the Biden administration’s highest priorities. The administration lifted sanctions on more than a dozen former Iranian officials in June, a move that Iranian officials viewed as a victory.
Iran even claimed that 1,000 more sanctions will soon be lifted, which the U.S. State Department spokesman denied. Days later, it was reported that the Biden administration might remove what it considers symbolic sanctions on Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
The relief comes as Iran faces new internal pressures. Severe water shortages have triggered six days of massive anti-government protests, including chants of “Death to [Ayatollah] Khamenei.”
As diplomacy continues, Iran is not relenting in pursuing its violent objectives. U.S. troops in Syria were shelled by Iranian rocket fire following U.S. airstrikes on Iranian-backed militias. While U.S. forces responded to the attacks, it was not enough to stop six reprisal attacks by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria this month alone. “President Biden must put forward a real strategy for deterring and ending these attacks, rather than continuing his bare-minimum, tit-for-tat approach that is failing to deter Iran or its militias and puts American lives at increased risk,” said U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council on Tuesday rejected a new draft nuclear agreement because it was incompatible with legislation passed by Iran’s parliament last December. That law prohibits the country from dropping below 20 percent enriched uranium, which would not be allowed in any negotiated nuclear deal.
“The committee formed at the SNSC which was responsible for comparing the draft with the law passed by the parliament in December has decided that it is incompatible with the law,” said Ali Rabiei, spokesman for outgoing Iranian President Ali Rouhani.