Netanyahu has personally started campaigning against any return to the Iran dealDec 9, 2020 - World
Biden's team has refused to comment on the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.Dec 2, 2020 - World
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency tells "Axios on HBO" that it's "essential" to have a nuclear deal with Iran because otherwise "we are flying blind."
Driving the news: Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi sat down with "Axios on HBO" at IAEA headquarters in Vienna, ahead of Iran's June 18 presidential election and a June 24 extension on negotiations seeking to restore curtailed surveillance of Iranian nuclear sites and salvage the 2015 deal.
Iran regained its United Nations General Assembly vote on Friday after it made a minimum dues payment, while denouncing the United States for sanctions that had blocked billions in funds, AP reports.
The big picture: The Biden administration on Thursday lifted sanctions on former Iranian officials affiliated with the National Iranian Oil Co., signaling that it's willing to ease economic pressure on Iran, the Wall Street Journal reports.
With the Iranian presidential elections looming, very little progress has been made so far in the fifth round of indirect talks in Vienna between the U.S. and Iran, two sources briefed on the talks tell me.
Why it matters: The Iranian elections on June 18 are likely to strengthen the conservative camp, with Ebrahim Raisi — the leader of Iran's judiciary and a close confidant of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — the favorite to win.
Iran's largest navy ship, known as the Kharg, caught on fire on Wednesday and sunk in the Gulf of Oman, according to state media.
Details: The fire broke out at around 2:25 a.m. while the ship was near Iran's Port of Jask, a major shipping lane. No casualties were reported and the entire crew was able to escape the wreck and was taken to safety on the coast, per NPR.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday at a ceremony for the new director of Israel's Mossad spy agency that Israel must prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon even at the cost of tensions with the Biden administration.
Why it matters: The U.S. is holding indirect talks with Iran on a mutual return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. Netanyahu, who may be in his final days as prime minister, is a fierce critic of the deal and contends a U.S. return would take the pressure off the Iranian regime.
The United Nations’ atomic watchdog said Monday that Iran has failed to explain the presence of "traces of uranium found at several undeclared sites," Reuters reported.
The big picture: The International Atomic Energy Agency also said that it has not been able to access data necessary for tracking the development of Iran's nuclear program since the end of February, when Tehran began restricting international inspections at its facilities, per AP.
Last week's round of indirect nuclear talks between the U.S. and Iran in Vienna was the first in which progress was made on both negotiating tracks, sanctions relief and nuclear measures, U.S. officials say.
Breaking it down: The working group focusing on sanctions relief required of the U.S. to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal had made steady progress in the first three rounds. But the other, focusing on the nuclear measures required of Iran, stalled due to Iran's hardline positions and the question of what happens to Iran's new advanced centrifuges, U.S. officials contend.
Iran has reached a deal with the UN's nuclear watchdog to continue inspections of its nuclear sites for another month.
Why it matters: While unstated, the reason for the extension is to allow for more time to negotiate a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.
The Biden administration has not yet seen evidence that Iran will comply with the nuclear commitments needed to lift sanctions, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday.
Why it matters: A new round of indirect talks with Iranian officials will resume in Vienna in the coming days. President Biden has pledged not to lift sanctions unless the country first stops enriching uranium.