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Iran officials refuse to abandon avenging murdered commander despite offers of lifting sanctions
Relations between the US and Iran have come under intense strain, with tensions escalating following the death of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. Iranian officials are still seeking to avenge Soleimani’s death in its refusal to accept the sanctions getting lifted from the country.
According to Reuters, a top Iranian official said Thursday that Tehran would not abandon the plans to avenge Soleimani’s killing despite receiving offers from Washington that sanctions will be lifted, among other concessions in return. This comes amidst the stalled talks between Iran and the US over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. The US, under Donald Trump, withdrew from the deal in 2018 and imposed sanctions as part of the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign on Iran.
While talks appeared to come close to an agreement back in March, the ongoing invasion of Ukraine has put the discussions on pause. The pause was due to the last-minute Russian demands as well as the issue of whether the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps would be removed from the foreign terrorist designation.
The US State Department has since responded, saying that if Iran wanted sanctions relief that goes beyond the nuclear deal, it would have to address Washington’s concerns on the other issues.
“If Iran wants sanctions lifting that goes beyond the JCPOA, they will need to address concerns of ours beyond the JCPOA,” said the department’s spokesperson. “Conversely, if they do not want to use these talks to resolve other bilateral issues beyond the JCPOA then we are confident that we can very quickly reach an understanding on the JCPOA and begin reimplementing the deal.”
The discussions have been transpiring for months in an effort to restart the nuclear deal, with officials on both sides expressing optimism that a deal could be made. Back in March, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan explained what Washington intends to do should the deal with Iran fall through.
Sullivan said that if diplomacy fails, the US will work with allies to increase pressure on Iran, noting at the time that there are several outstanding issues that need to be resolved before an agreement could be made.
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