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Trump’s shadow looms over the latest attempt to revive the Iran nuclear deal

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Marandi said that in order for Iran to sign the updated deal, IAEA censorship “must be ended once and for all.”

Iran dismissed the IAEA’s motion as “politicized” and responded by removing surveillance cameras at key sites in response — a move that deprived negotiators of up-to-date information on the country’s uranium enrichment program and appeared to doom prospects for struck a deal.

So when negotiators returned to Vienna last week, observers were surprised. Tehran’s cautious approval of the latest draft deal has raised the possibility of an immediate return to the deal, despite remaining obstacles. Even the country’s hardliners – who have strongly opposed the deal since it was signed by then-government Hassan Rouhani and the Obama administration in 2015 – have hailed the draft as an improvement over previous versions.

However, Iran continues to crawl, as it has done ever since The Biden administration resumed talks to restore the agreement nearly a year and a half ago. One reason, Iranian analysts argue, is because of the outsize influence wielded by one man absent from the negotiations: Trump. Analysts argue that Iran has preempted talks about the possible victory of a Trump-aligned Republican candidate – or even Trump himself – in the 2024 US presidential election. Biden’s successor, according to Iran’s calculations, would withdraw from the deal once again, unleashing a new stream of sanctions on the country.

“Trump’s shadow looms over these talks because they have dragged on for the past year, as Iran has focused heavily on providing economic guarantees,” said Mohammad Ali Shabani, editor of Amwaj.media, a London-based newspaper. in Iran, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula.

“If secondary US sanctions come back, as we saw when Trump pulled out of the deal and all the major Western private sector companies left and never came back, how do you prevent that? said Shabani. “What mechanisms can you put in place to prevent this from happening again?”

Secondary sanctions are a US mechanism that penalizes any government or organization that has financial relations with sanctioned entities.

In a development that risks adding another hurdle to the talks, the US Justice Department on Tuesday announced criminal charges against a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for allegedly trying to orchestrate the assassination of John Boltonwho served in senior national security positions during the Trump and Bush administrations.

However, the Iranians have much to gain by re-entering the deal, even for a short period.

The easing of sanctions could free up tens of billions of dollars in oil and gas revenue over the next two years, boosting a sagging Iranian economy and bolstering the popularity of Iran’s hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, Shabani said.

Conversely, there is too much at stake for the international community if negotiations continue to falter. Since Trump pulled out of negotiations and began an aggressive sanctions regime in May 2018, Tehran enriched uranium at higher levels and at an increasing rate. The UN nuclear watchdog said in June that Iran was weeks away from possessing a “significant amount of enriched uranium”, but added that it “doesn’t mean having a bomb”.

Moreover, time remains of the essence as procrastination in negotiations complicates the talks. Earlier this year, an Iranian request to remove the Revolutionary Guards from the US terror list was believed to be the final hurdle to reviving the deal. Now that issue seems to be off the table. But the progress of Iran’s uranium enrichment program has thrown another wrench into the wheels, leading to Tehran being censured by the IAEA.

Iran accuses the West of trying to weaponize IAEA censorship, using it as a legal pretext to withdraw from a future deal. Marandi told CNN that the cancellation of the motion was a prerequisite for reviving the deal.

“Otherwise the Iranians have no doubt that the Americans will take advantage of this, or use this as a tool to undermine the deal within weeks or months at the most. This is a prerequisite for implementing a deal,” Marandi told CNN .

Still, there’s reason for some optimism, and even kicking the can down the road can have its benefits.

Even if the agreement is canceled again in 2025, Shabani argued, an immediate return to the agreement “gives both sides breathing space.”

“The US needs to put the nuclear genie back in the bottle for three years and then it can deal with it in 2025 once again,” Shabani said.

Third

Russia puts Iranian satellite into orbit

Russia launched an Iranian satellite into orbit on Tuesday from southern Kazakhstan, just three weeks after President Vladimir Putin and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to work together against the West, Reuters reported. The satellite successfully entered orbit, Russia’s space agency said.

  • BackgroundTehran has rejected claims that the satellite could be used by Moscow to boost its intelligence capabilities in Ukraine, saying Iran will have full control and operation of it “from day one”. Iran says the satellite is designed for scientific research including radiation and environmental monitoring for agricultural purposes.
  • Why it matters: The Washington Post reported last week that US officials are worried by the new space cooperation between Russia and Iran, fearing that the satellite will not only help Russia in Ukraine, but also provide Iran with “unprecedented capabilities” to monitor potential military targets in Israel and in between. The birth. In July, Putin visited Iran on his first international trip outside the former Soviet Union since the start of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Ex-Twitter employee sentenced in Saudi espionage case

A former Twitter executive accused of spying for Saudi Arabia was convicted on Tuesday of six criminal charges, including acting as an agent for the country and trying to disguise a payment from an official linked to the Saudi royal family, it reported. Reuters.

  • Background: Ahmad Abouammo is a dual American-Lebanese citizen who on Twitter helped oversee relations with journalists and celebrities in the Middle East and North Africa. Defense lawyers argued that the work he did on Twitter was simply part of his job. Federal public defenders representing Abouammo did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Twitter declined to comment. Jurors acquitted him of five of the 11 charges he faced.
  • Why it matters: Prosecutors said he was recruited by Bader Al-Asaker, a close adviser to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, to use his inside knowledge to access Twitter accounts and find personal information about Saudi dissidents. Those accounts allegedly included @mujtahidd, a nickname for a political agitator who gained millions of Twitter followers in the Arab Spring uprisings by accusing the Saudi royal family of corruption and other wrongdoing.

Theran makes first import order using cryptocurrency

Iran placed its first official import order using cryptocurrency this week, semi-official Tasnim agency quoted Reuters as saying on Tuesday. “By the end of September, the use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts will be widely used in foreign trade with target countries,” an official from the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade said on Twitter.

  • Background: The order, worth $10 million, was a first step toward allowing the country to trade through digital assets that bypass the dollar-dominated global financial system and trade with other countries similarly restricted by U.S. sanctions. , like Russia. The agency did not specify which cryptocurrency was used in the transaction.
  • Why it matters: The move could enable the Islamic Republic to bypass US sanctions that have crippled the economy. Tehran is one of the largest economies yet to embrace cryptocurrency technology. Last year, a study found that 4.5% of all bitcoin mining was taking place in Iran, partly as a result of the country’s cheap electricity.

About the region

Footage of a Gulf Arab student throwing wads of cash from a convertible sports car onto a busy Jordanian street has gone viral on Arab social media, prompting condemnation of the sight and debate about how people should behave abroad.

In an apparent celebration of his graduation, the man is seen standing in a red Ford Mustang wearing a graduation robe over a traditional Arab tunic as he throws money into the air, blocking traffic. Bystanders are seen trying to collect as much money as possible. The license plate on the car was Kuwaiti.

“And they say we have not been treated well [abroad]Ahmed Al Sharqawi of Kuwait tweeted in an apparent reference to Gulf Arabs. “Respect others and you will be respected.”

A Saudi man has been charged after his Maserati crashed into Rome's Spanish Steps
Khaled Al Awadhi, an activist from Kuwait, said in a video posted on Twitter that the act “presents us [Kuwaitis] as people who act provocatively because we have money”.

“If an immigrant behaved like this in our country, we would all have turned against him,” he added, calling on parents to “raise their children well.”

Oil-rich Kuwait is one of the richest Arab countries and has one of the most valuable currencies in the world.

A sorry video was shown on Twitter by a man claiming to be the student in the initial clip, his face blurred, saying he is actually Bahraini. The man said he had borrowed his Kuwaiti friend’s car and apologized for his “inappropriate behaviour”, saying he was just “expressing joy”.

By Mohammed Abdelbary

Time capsule

King Hussein of Jordan, Lausanne 12 August 1952

This week marks 70 years since King Hussein bin Talal was proclaimed King of Jordan.

Hussein was the third monarch to rule the Hashemite kingdom. He was proclaimed king after his father, Talal, was declared unfit to rule due to mental illness by the country’s parliament.

Beginning his rule as a 17-year-old schoolboy on August 11, 1952, he evolved by the end of his life into a respected statesman, peace broker and longest-serving ruler in the Middle East.

For more than 40 years, Hussein ruled a kingdom not much older than himself — descended from the Hashemite dynasty believed to be descended from the prophet Muhammad. His reign was marked by threats to his rule in the country and the loss of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Israel in a war, but also saw Jordan become the second Arab state to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state.

Hussein succumbed to a battle with cancer at the age of 63, passing away on February 7, 1999. He was succeeded by his eldest son King Abdullah, the current ruler of Jordan.

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2/ https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/10/middleeast/iran-talks-trump-shadow-mime-intl/index.html

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