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World US lifts sanctions on 3 former Iranian officials and two companien

01:45  11 june  2021
01:45  11 june  2021 Source:   cnn.com

Iran sends warships to Atlantic amid Venezuela concerns

  Iran sends warships to Atlantic amid Venezuela concerns DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An Iranian destroyer and support vessel are now sailing in the Atlantic Ocean in a rare mission far from the Islamic Republic, Iran's state TV reported on Thursday, without offering the vessels’ final destination. The trip by the new domestically built destroyer Sahand and the intelligence-gathering vessel Makran comes amid U.S. media reports, citing anonymous American officials, saying the ships were bound for Venezuela. The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the ships' destination.

The Treasury and State Departments lifted sanctions " on three former government of Iran officials , and two companies previously involved in the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of Iranian petrochemical products, as a result of a verified change in status or behavior on the part of the sanctioned parties," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a briefing Thursday that there was "absolutely no connection" between the delisting and the negotiations in Vienna over fate of the 2015 nuclear deal.

The United States on Thursday slapped sanctions on five Iranian officials in charge of vetting candidates for the Islamic republic’s parliamentary elections, in which thousands, predominantly moderates, have been barred from running. The officials targeted ahead of Friday’s vote include Ahmad Jannati, a 92-year-old cleric who, according to the Treasury Department, oversaw the disqualification of nearly half the 16,033 potential The sanctions mean that any US assets of the officials will be frozen and that transactions with them will be a crime for anyone in the United States .

The Biden administration lifted a handful of Iran-related sanctions Thursday in what the State Department described as a "normal practice" unrelated to the ongoing discussions over the Iran nuclear deal.

Tony Blinken wearing a suit and tie © House Foreign Affairs Cmte

The Treasury and State Departments lifted sanctions "on three former government of Iran officials, and two companies previously involved in the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of Iranian petrochemical products, as a result of a verified change in status or behavior on the part of the sanctioned parties," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

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  Exclusive: Iran Hard-liner Raisi to Win Presidential Election at Pivotal Moment in Middle East, Poll Shows "All indications suggest that [Ebrahim] Raisi will become Iran's next president," IranPoll CEO Amir Farmanesh said in a statement shared alongside exclusive data sent to Newsweek. "Contrary to what some believe, his election is unlikely to significantly change the course of Iran's foreign policy."The election comes at a pivotal moment in the Middle East, especially among Iran's rivals.

On 20 September 2020, the US asserted that UN sanctions against Iran were back in place, a claim that was rejected by Iran and the other remaining parties to the JCPOA.[25][26] The next day, the United States imposed sanctions on Iranian defence officials , nuclear scientists, the Atomic Energy Agency companies from trading with Iran , and announced the establishment of a national directorate to implement the sanctions .[58]. Japan imposed a ban on transactions with some Iranian banks, investments with the Iranian energy sector, and asset freezes against individuals and entities involved

The renewed US sanctions on Tehran have already forced major EU companies , including France’s Total, Peugeot, and Renault, as well as Germany’s Siemens and Daimler, to suspend operations in Iran . Further sanctions , scheduled for November, will reportedly hit the country’s oil and shipping In late August, the bloc agreed on an Iranian development-aid package of €18 million (.9 million). Later, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel was one of the first EU politicians to say that Washington had no right to tell European companies with whom they could trade and develop economic relations.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a briefing Thursday that there was "absolutely no connection" between the delisting and the negotiations in Vienna over fate of the 2015 nuclear deal.

"This is a routine, technical practice consistent with sanctions hygiene, with administrative processes that the Department of the Treasury routinely reviews and undertakes as appropriate," Price said, noting that the removal of the sanctions resulted from a petition for delisting. He declined to go into specifics about the "verified change in behavior or status" that resulted in the removal of the sanctions.

"There's no connection to the delistings that we announced today to the (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) or to negotiations that are ongoing in Vienna," he said.

How States Can Respond if Biden Lifts Iran Sanctions

  How States Can Respond if Biden Lifts Iran Sanctions Republican governors and legislatures have some effective tools at their disposal.Last month, the Republican Study Committee unveiled the “Max Pressure Act,” putting most House Republicans on record opposing U.S. reentry to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and pledging to reimpose maximum pressure on Iran whenever the power pendulum of Washington swings back to the GOP. In the Senate, a series of bills, resolutions, and letters signal a Republican Caucus united against the Iran nuclear deal — with sanctions amendments to must-pass legislation still possible later this year.

The Obama administration agreed to back the lifting of United Nations sanctions on two Iranian state banks on the same day that Tehran released four American citizens from prison, according to U . S . officials and congressional staff. News Corp is a global, diversified media and information services company focused on creating and distributing authoritative and engaging content and other products and services.

Iranian assets in the United States remain blocked under several provisions, including Executive Order 13599 of February 2010. · U . S . officials consider about .9 billion in Iranian Central Bank assets that were held in a Citibank account in New York as subject to being blocked. The account was in the name of Terminating the sanctions triggered by Iran ’s terrorism list designation would require Iran ’s removal from the terrorism list. The Arms Export Control Act defines two different requirements for a President to remove a country from the list, depending on whether the country’s regime has changed.

Those negotiations, which are aimed at returning the United States to the nuclear deal and bringing Iran back into compliance -- are set to resume late this week after five previous rounds of indirect talks between the two countries that have yet to yield results. Price said that while there had been "progress" in those preceding rounds, "challenges do remain and big issues do continue to divide the sides."

As the two countries attempt to reach mutual agreement in the Austrian capital, an Iranian Navy destroyer ship and logistical vessel reached the Atlantic Ocean, sparking warnings from the administration about a potential transfer of weapons to Venezuela.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers Thursday that he is generally concerned about weapons proliferation "in our neighborhood," but declined to go into specifics about the cargo of the vessels.

US warns neighboring countries not to let in Iranian warships sailing across the Atlantic and thought to be carrying weapons

  US warns neighboring countries not to let in Iranian warships sailing across the Atlantic and thought to be carrying weapons It's unclear what the ships are carrying, but the US military has publicly said that a transfer of weapons "would be a provocative act and a threat."The Makran, an oil tanker Iran converted into a massive sea base for expeditionary naval operations, is accompanied by the frigate Sahand and is thought to be carrying weapons. The two vessels have completed about half of their journey to across the Atlantic. Venezuela is believed to be the intended destination.

Today, OFAC and the Department of State are also lifting sanctions on three former Government of Iran officials , and two companies formerly involved in the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of Iranian petrochemical products. These delistings are a result of a verified change in Sa’id al-Jamal, an Iran -based Houthi financial supporter, directs a network of front companies and vessels that smuggle Iranian fuel, petroleum products, and other commodities to customers throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. A significant portion of the revenue generated from these sales is

On the sidelines of the visit, Iranian officials said they intended to install more IR 2 m gas centrifuges in the next three months. They said Iran had 17kg of stockpiles of 20% enriched uranium, well above the limits set out in the agreement. Blinken has assembled a team with experience of negotiating with Iran ’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, has set out a plan whereby Iran would come back into compliance with the deal as soon as the US lifts sanctions . Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images. Blinken made the comments on the same day as speaking with his foreign minister

Price said that "if Iran would seek to effect the transfer of weapons or other illicit materials, we would be prepared to hold Iran accountable, and before that were to take place, we are prepared to do what we can to attempt to eliminate such activity."

The administration on Thursday also slapped sanctions on an Iran-based Houthi financier and other members of his financial network for their role in providing "tens of millions of dollars' worth of funds to the Houthis in cooperation with senior officials in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps -- Qods Force (IRGC-QF)," according to Blinken.

Yemen has been embroiled in a years-long civil war that has pitted a coalition backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, a Shia political and military organization from the north of Yemen. The conflict has cost thousands of civilian lives and plunged the country into a humanitarian crisis.

Blinken noted that "those in (Sa'id) al-Jamal's network of front companies and intermediaries sell commodities, such as Iranian petroleum, throughout the Middle East and beyond and channel a significant portion of the revenue to the Houthis."

"This network's financial support enables the Houthis' deplorable attacks threatening civilian and critical infrastructure in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. These attacks undermine efforts to bring the conflict to an end and, most tragically, starve tens of millions of innocent civilians," Andrea Gacki, the director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a separate statement.

Is a hospital ship the missing piece in America's Iran strategy? .
The Biden administration continues to prioritize reconciliation with Iran. © Provided by Washington Examiner On Thursday, for example, the U.S. Treasury Department lifted sanctions on more than a dozen former officials involved in the National Iranian Oil Company, an entity that has repeatedly helped to fund the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its proxies.

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