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The ‘Deal’ Gone Bad

US President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was all set to revive the Iran nuclear deal. However, an Iranian effort to kidnap Masih Alinejad, an Iranian-American critic of the Tehran regime, and the recent attack on noted Indo-British author Salman Rushdie have changed the entire scenario, complicating the US President’s path to the deal. The Politico has reported that an Iranian operative has recently been detained in the US for his alleged involvement in a suspected scheme to assassinate former National Security Adviser (NSA) John Bolton. The US Justice Department recently revealed that the Iranian operative, identified as Revolutionary Guard member Shahram Poursafi, had made an attempt to hire people in the US in order to assassinate Bolton for USD 300,000. This development, too, may prompt President Biden to abandon nuclear talks with the West Asian nation.

Experts in Foreign Affairs are of the opinion that Tehran’s possible links to these incidents have already rocked the Iranian nuclear deal, with British prime ministerial hopeful Rishi Sunak stating that the attack on Rushdie should be a wake-up call to impose sanctions on Tehran. The European leaders have mentioned that the Government of Iran simply could not be trusted especially after the attack on Rushdie. They have also made it clear that any bargain with Iran must cover its misdeeds beyond just Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Joe Biden

Meanwhile, Alinejad has urged Washington DC to further crack down on Iran by asking its diplomats to leave the US, and to deny a visa to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ahead of the UN General Assembly gathering in New York in September. “Iran needs to be held more accountable, and, if the US Government denies that, they actually betray their own citizens,” stressed Alinejad.

Former NSA Bolton, popularly known for vehemently deprecating the nuclear deal, has said that he is still against the deal with Iran. “Iran’s nuclear weapons and terrorist activities are two sides of the same coin. No responsible US Government should think otherwise,” he added.

A US official familiar with the issue, who wished to remain anonymous, has insisted that the Biden Administration is fully aware that Iran presents multiple challenges beyond the nuclear threat. He said: “We have been seeking a nuclear deal precisely because an unconstrained Iranian nuclear programme would make all the other very serious problems we have with them, and we have many, far worse.

John Bolton (Courtesy: The Guardian)

As of now, President Bidenit has not given any hint that he will walk away from efforts to restore the nuclear agreement struck under President Barack Obama in 2015. The President believes that “diplomacy is the best path” to ensure that “Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon”. A senior White House spokesperson has issued a statement, saying: “At the same time, the Biden Administration has not and will not waver in protecting and defending all Americans against threats of violence and terrorism.

President Biden has decided to take time before making any final decision regarding the Iran nuclear deal, as he is not overly enthusiastic or in a rush. He has also decided not to lift a terrorism designation imposed on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps by his predecessor Donald Trump. President Biden has rejected Iranian negotiators’ demand that the label be lifted as part of the revival of the deal.

According to experts, the latest developments in the US shall certainly have a negative impact on Iran-US ties, and Tehran may have to pay a heavy price for that. Keeping in mind the current situation, the European countries, too, will back the US’ decision to abandon nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic.

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