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Biden extends national emergency against Iran amid Vienna talks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before the start of a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, on March 03, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

US President Joe Biden has extended a national emergency against Iran for another year, in yet another act of bad faith as diplomats are engaged in the final stages of talks in Vienna.

In a statement on Thursday, Biden said the national emergency declared by former president Bill Clinton on March 15, 1995, must continue in effect beyond March 15, 2022. 

The actions and policies of the Government of Iran continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, the statement read.

“Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to Iran declared in Executive Order 12957,” it added.

Earlier, the European Union’s deputy foreign policy chief, Enrique Mora, who coordinates the Vienna talks, tweeted that “we are at the final stages of the #ViennaTalks on #JCPOA.”

In recent days, diplomats participating in the eighth round of negotiations in the Austrian capital have said that “a deal is within reach” provided that the remaining, narrowed-down issues are resolved.

The Vienna talks began last April between Iran and the other parties to the Iran deal on the assumption that the US, under the Biden administration, is willing to repeal the so-called maximum pressure policy against Tehran.

Former US president Donald Trump instigated the maximum pressure campaign after he pulled the US out of the Iran deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in 2018 and unleashed what he called the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

One key issue on which Iran and the US are now in full agreement is that the maximum pressure campaign of sanctions has failed.

However, since the beginning of the talks, the US has taken several measures that run counter to its claim of favoring diplomacy, including the imposition of several fresh rounds of anti-Iran sanctions.

On Monday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price threatened that Washington is prepared to “walk away” if Iran displays “intransigence to making progress.”

Iran has maintained that if the Vienna talks do not lead to an agreement, the US and its three major European allies are to blame due to their failure to guarantee their strict adherence to the JCPOA.

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