For almost three weeks people in Iran have been taking to the streets against the regime. Well over 100 have already paid for it with their lives, and the prisons are overflowing. In response, the USA has already imposed sanctions and now wants to follow up. However, the Biden government wants to hold on to the negotiations on the nuclear agreement.
The US has announced further sanctions against Iran. The measures are a reaction to the violent crackdown on the protests in the country, said US President Joe Biden. As early as this week, Washington will impose further sanctions on "violent offenders against peaceful demonstrators." Biden did not provide further details, but said in the statement that the United States would "continue to hold Iranian officials accountable and support Iranians' rights to free protest."
Washington had already announced further sanctions against the Iranian vice squad and several security officials at the end of September. The US President was now "deeply concerned" by the reports of "increasingly brutal crackdowns on demonstrators in Iran, including students and women". The US stands with Iranian women and all Iranian citizens whose courage is "an inspiration to the world," Biden said. Earlier, White House spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre said the US was "alarmed and outraged" by the Iranian authorities' repression of student protests.
Police violence at Tehran's Sharif University escalated on Monday night: security forces rounded up around 200 protesters there, beat them up and used tear gas, among other things. They are said to have also shot at those trapped with paintball guns in order to be able to identify them. Videos on social networks show how people are abducted in the vicinity of the university and how security forces fire from guns.
The Iranian government's treatment of women and its violent repression of peaceful demonstrations are "exactly the kind of behavior that drives talented young Iranians to leave their country by the thousands in search of dignity and prospects." said Biden's government spokeswoman Jean-Pierre.
Apparently, the US government is not currently considering turning away from negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Jean-Pierre stressed that this agreement was "in our opinion the best way to tackle the nuclear problem," as long as Washington believed that continuing the talks was "in the interests of US national security."
The nuclear deal with Iran was negotiated in 2015 under then US President Barack Obama with the participation of China, Russia, France, Great Britain and Germany. It should prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) provides for Iran to limit its nuclear activities and in return benefit from an easing of international sanctions.
Under Obama's successor, Donald Trump, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018. As a result, Iran gradually no longer kept its commitments. For months, negotiations in Vienna have been trying to revive the agreement, but recently the negotiations have reached a dead end, also because Iran has shown little concession.