FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

  • Iranian officials announced Tuesday that the United States will not have an unlimited amount of time to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal.Iran also stated that the economic sanctions levied by the Trump administration must be lifted before negotiations can resume. President Joe Biden has stated that he plans to return to the Iran nuclear deal, yet no communication between the nations has occurred at this point. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted, “Why on earth should Iran—a country that stood firm & defeated 4 years of a brutal US economic terrorism imposed in violation of JCPOA & UNSC Resolution—show goodwill gesture first?”
  • Iranian military commander Gen. Rahim Noei-Aghdam released a statement via state-run media outlet Mehr News Agency claiming to have the capacity to destroy U.S. warships. “If once the U.S. presence in the international waters near Iran was considered as a threat to the country, today thanks to our deterrent power and surface-to-surface, surface-to-air, surface-to-coast, coast-to-coast, coast-to-sea, and sea-to-sea missiles, we have the ability to destroy American ships,” he stated.
  • Iranian authorities arrested a US-Iranian dual national citizen on “spying charges” as he was attempting to leave the country illegally through the western border, authorities say. This move could complicate negotiations with the U.S. and Iran, as this man has become one of many dual citizens of the U.S. and Iran to be arrested on allegations of espionage. 
    • This development occurred one week after U.S. authorities arrested an Iranian citizen and lawful U.S. resident for allegedly “acting as an unregistered agent of the Iranian government.” The man was a political science author who according to U.S. authorities “sought to influence the American public and American policymakers for the benefit of his employer, the Iranian government, by disguising propaganda as objective policy analysis and expertise.”
  • A French presidential official stated Tuesday that Iran must end its provocations if the nation expects the U.S. to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement. “If they are serious about negotiations and if they want to obtain a re-engagement of all the stakeholders in the JCPOA, they firstly need to refrain from further provocations and secondly respect what they no longer respect, that’s to say their obligations,” the anonymous official stated. 
  • With President Donald Trump out of office, his administration’s “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign may be weakening as Iranian oil exports continue to slowly increase. Petro-Logistics SA, Kpler Ltd. and SVB International LLC, two of the firms who have been tasked with monitoring Iran’s oil outputs, have reported the increase. “The output and export increase is an anticipation of Biden’s softer approach toward Iran,” SVB founder and president Sara Vakhshouri stated. The estimated oil output is 30,000 to 50,000 barrels a day, which is far lower than the Iranian government proclaimed last week. Iranian officials said the country’s output has seen a “dramatic increase” and could return to pre-sanction output within two months. 
  • The U.S. military is exploring basing options in Saudi Arabia in preparation for a conflict with Iran should such an event arise. Thousands of troops were sent by the Trump administration, and the U.S. could see a conflict of interest develop due to Biden’s pledge to toughen his stance on Saudi Arabia for human rights abuses and the U.S. need for strategic Saudi bases amidst tumultuous negotiations with Iran.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

Iran says it’s waiting for President Biden to make the first move – NBC News – 1/26/2021
“No, there has not been any conversation between Iran and the U.S. after Biden came into office,” Ravanchi said. Asked if there were plans to open up a direct dialogue with Washington or indirect communication through an intermediary, perhaps via the Swiss government, Ravanchi said, “We are not planning to initiate anything.”

Iran says won’t reverse nuclear measures unless U.S. implements UNSCR 2231 – Tehran Times – 1/25/2021 [State-controlled Media]
Responding to a question on what Iran would do if the U.S. refrained from lifting sanctions on Iran, the spokesman said nothing new has happened with respect to the JCPOA. “Our position is the same as we previously said: the U.S. and other remaining parties to the JCPOA must lift the sanctions and effectively implement the deal,” he noted.

US General Says US, Iran Entering ‘Period of Opportunity;’ Former Prisoner Warns Against Softening Stance – Voice of America – 1/26/2021
“As far as I know, there are at least four Americans in jail in Iran,” said Xiyue Wang, a Chinese American student who was imprisoned in Iran from 2016 to 2019 on charges of espionage. “And they should be returned home before any easing of sanctions imposed on Iran.” Wang was released in a prisoner swap. He told PNN he thought Biden should “take advantage of leverages provided to him through the maximum pressure policy of the Trump administration.”

France: Iran must comply with nuclear deal before US returns to pact – The Times of Israel – 1/26/2021
France on Tuesday said the Iranian government must comply with the terms of the 2015 accord limiting its nuclear program before the United States returns to the deal. Russia, however, expressed the opposite view and said Washington must first rejoin the treaty and lift sanctions against Tehran.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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