U.S. Nearing Agreement with Iran on Reentering Nuclear Deal | Persecution

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U.S. Nearing Agreement with Iran on Reentering Nuclear Deal

05/10/2021 Iran (International Christian Concern) – According to a report from Reuters, the United States is nearing a deal with Iranian negotiators to lift U.S. sanctions if Iran comes back into compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Many experts are speculating that this deal would mean a deemphasis on human rights in Iran-U.S. relations and could potentially hurt religious minorities living under the Iranian regime.

The Obama administration signed the JCPOA in 2015 to curb Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon, a development that has the potential to greatly destabilize the region, especially with its key enemy Israel also possessing nuclear capabilities. However, the Trump administration saw the agreement as inadequate in addressing this threat and withdrew from the agreement in 2018. Instead, the Trump State Department implemented harsh sanctions to punish Iran for its nuclear development, taking a different approach from the previous administration that used incentives to achieve this end.

One of President Biden’s stated key goals in the Middle East throughout his campaign is reentering the agreement to hinder Iran’s nuclear program by having them once again comply with the agreement’s restrictions, moving the regime further away from the prospect of obtaining a nuclear weapon. Nevertheless, many proponents of Trump’s policy on Iran worried that such negotiations would lead to the deprioritization of human rights in U.S. policy towards Iran.

Iran is notorious for its continued persecution of religious minorities and brazen human rights abuses. Last month, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom reiterated its recommendation to the State Department that Iran be designated as a Country of Particular Concern for religious freedom violations. Some human rights advocates worry that using the incentive-based Biden/Obama model of the JCPOA would cause the U.S. to be more lenient on Iran regarding these abuses.

U.S. negotiators are still meeting with Iranian representatives in Vienna to discuss the terms of reentering the agreement. Reports from the White House indicate that an agreement between the two sides could come as early as this week.

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