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The Cradle
EU proposes easing sanctions on IRGC to revive Iran nuclear deal: Report
The US negotiator present in Vienna says Washington is not engaged in negotiations about changing 'US sanctions compliance standards'
By News Desk - August 13 2022
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(Photo credit: Khamenei.ir)

A European draft proposal to revive the Iran nuclear deal, written in close coordination with Washington, could negate the effect of US sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

According to a report by Politico, the proposal specifies: “Europeans and other non-Americans could conduct business with Iranian entities engaged in ‘transactions’ with the IRGC without fear of triggering US sanctions.”

These details were reportedly finalized on 8 August, after 16 months of negotiations between Iran and the remaining signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — China, Russia, France, the UK, and Germany.

US negotiators have only taken part indirectly in the negotiations through their EU allies, as Washington unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018.

If the proposal is approved, European businesses would be allowed to deal with Iran without fear of US sanctions, as the IRGC has near-ubiquitous political and economic influence across the Islamic Republic.

“We are carefully studying the EU’s proposed final text and will provide our answer to them as asked. [The EU] described this text as their final effort at a compromise — nobody should be surprised that it requires difficult decisions for all participants,” a senior White House official who spoke with Politico said.

Rob Malley, the US special envoy for the talks in Vienna, contacted Politico after publication to highlight that the US has “not engaged in any negotiation about changing due diligence, know-your-customer, or other US sanctions compliance standards … that would remain under a mutual return to full [nuclear deal] implementation.”

Donald Trump blacklisted the IRGC in 2019, making it the first time that a military branch of a foreign government has been added to the foreign terrorist organization (FTO) list of the US State Department.

Current US President Joe Biden has sought to revive the JCPOA since taking office. However, he has refused Iran’s demands to remove the IRGC from the blacklist, mainly to appease Israel.

During an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 news that aired on 13 July, Biden said he was ready to put a definite end to the JCPOA-revival talks in order to keep the IRGC blacklisted.

Israel has also carried out assassinations and sabotage inside Iran in hopes of scuttling the talks.

Europe, on the other hand, has remained more open to providing guarantees to Iran, as they regard the country as an attractive source of energy at a time when entire industries are facing collapse after losing access to Russian fuel.

Just last month, Belgium ratified a a prisoner exchange treaty with the Islamic Republic in an unprecedented decision among European countries.

The details of the EU draft proposal come at a time when western media is trying to connect the IRGC to the brutal stabbing of Indian-born novelist Salman Rushdie, as well as to the alleged plot to assassinate former White House officials John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

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