Criticism in Washington for reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal has strengthened after the revelation of an Iranian plot to assassinate the former US National Security Adviser and the stabbing incident against British writer Salman Rushdie, Politico magazine reported.
The American magazine said that the recent developments “do not help” US President Joe Biden in reaching an agreement with Iran to restore mutual compliance between the two countries of the terms of the agreement.
On Wednesday, the US Department of Justice confirmed the existence of an Iranian plot to assassinate the former US National Security Adviser, John Bolton, and announced the indictment of a member of the Revolutionary Guards.
The US Department of Justice said in a statement that Shahram Borsafi, 45, also known as Mehdi Rezaei, offered to pay $300,000 to people in the United States to kill Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, likely in retaliation for the US assassination of senior guard commander Qassem Soleimani. In January 2020.
Bolton’s case comes after US officials recently arrested a man suspected of being part of an Iranian attempt to kidnap journalist Masih Alinejad, a prominent critic of the Tehran regime.
And on Friday, the New York Police announced that the British writer, Salman Rushdie, was stabbed in the neck in an attack targeting him before giving a lecture, confirming the arrest of the suspect.
Rushdie’s life changed on February 14, 1989, when the former Iranian Supreme Leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, ordered his blood to be shed after he considered his novel “The Satanic Verses” offensive to Islam by containing what is considered blasphemy. Tehran renewed this fatwa year after year. The American magazine quoted speculation of a possible link between the attacker and Tehran.
Politico said a bipartisan faction in the United States that criticizes the nuclear deal argues that the Iranian government cannot be trusted and that any deal with Tehran must cover its crimes beyond its nuclear ambitions.
The news also underscores the difficult nature of the relationship between the United States and Iran, which is hostile — even when the two countries negotiate sensitive issues, according to the magazine.
“The (Biden) administration should move away from nuclear talks and prioritize Americans,” Texas Representative Mike McCaul, the Republican member of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, was quoted as saying on Twitter.
Journalist Ali Nejad agrees with this opinion, saying that the United States should pressure Iran by expelling its diplomats in America, like the people who represent Iran’s mission to the United Nations.
Some critics also say the United States should deny a visa to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi if he wants to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York next month.
Alinejad told Politico, “Iran needs more accountability, and if the US government denies this, it is in fact betraying its citizens.”
In contrast, a White House spokesman said in a statement that Biden still believed that “diplomacy is the best path” to ensuring that “Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.”
“At the same time, the Biden administration has not and will not compromise on protecting and defending all Americans against the threats of violence and terrorism,” he added.
In the same context, a US official familiar with the issue confirmed that the Biden administration is well aware that Iran presents challenges beyond the nuclear threat.
“We were seeking a nuclear deal precisely because an unfettered Iranian nuclear program would make all the other very serious problems we have with them much worse,” said the official, who was not identified by the magazine. Iranian diplomats at the United Nations did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Iranian officials typically deny targeting specific Americans and Iranian dissidents living abroad, although these allegations date back many years.
On Thursday, Tehran dismissed as “ridiculous” a US court’s assertion of a plot led by a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to assassinate the former White House National Security Adviser, John Bolton.
On Thursday, European Union diplomats, trying to break the deadlock in talks on the nuclear deal with Iran, suggested important new concessions to Tehran aimed at ending a UN investigation into past nuclear activities quickly, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Iran had waived the demand to remove the Revolutionary Guards from the list of American terrorist organizations, in addition to abandoning its demands for guarantees that the future American president would not withdraw from the deal, as Trump did previously, which gives new hopes for the signing of an agreement between Washington and Tehran.
The US special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, stressed that any US sanctions will not be lifted before the agreement is signed.
“We have not engaged in any negotiations on compliance criteria for US sanctions that will remain subject to a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA. Any report to the contrary is a mistake,” he said on Twitter.
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