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Iran Demanding Release of Nationals from US Jails Amid Nuclear Talks

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Iran Supreme Leader

Iran set the tone for how it was going to handle negotiations with a Biden administration while he was still on the campaign trail. The tone? That Iran will not negotiate and plans only to make demands. It is no surprise that they are following through. Former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal in May of 2018, saying “the Iran deal is defective at its core.”

The Associated Press reports that on Tuesday, Iran stated it was “seeking the release of all Iranian prisoners held in the U.S. amid talks in Vienna meant to bring Tehran and Washington back into the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.”

In addition to a prisoner release, “Tehran has been insisting that the U.S. lift all sanctions imposed under then-President Donald Trump after he pulled America out of the nuclear deal, including those not related to its nuclear program” reports the AP.

Last week, Reuters reported “Iran has rejected direct talks” with the U.S., resulting in a U.S. delegation “in a separate location in Vienna, enabling representatives of the five powers to shuttle between both sides.”

A prisoner swap accompanied the 2015 nuclear deal which included clemency for seven Iranians held in the United States, as well as the removal of 10 Iranians from Interpol watch lists. Morton Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America states “it would be dangerous and absurd for the US to release Iranian prisoners, thus allowing them to return to their nefarious anti-American, pro-terror activities.”

Earlier this month, Iran announced that it would enrich uranium at 60% purity, three times higher than before. The U.N. watchdog agency confirmed Iran’s announcement. In a statement, the International Atomic Energy Agency said they had “verified that Iran had begun the production of UF6 enriched up to 60%” at their above-ground Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant. Nonetheless, Iran continues to refuse direct talks and make demands such as the release of Iranian Nationals.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. WILLIAM FLYNN

    May 2, 2021 at 9:31 am

    THIS is what happens when the Iranians KNOW there is a Lunatic running this country who is TOTALLY INCOMPETENT and WEAK !!

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International

State Department Orders Americans to Evacuate from Ukraine Embassy

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SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department has announced it will begin evacuating families and nonessential staff from Kyiv’s U.S. Embassy this week. The travel advisory was published Sunday, signaling U.S. fears that Ukraine could be on the verge of a Russian invasion.

If an invasion occurs, the State Department could be thwarted in its ability to get to and assist Americans. The Department of State wrote:

“On January 23, 2022, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. direct-hire employees and ordered the departure of eligible family members from Embassy Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action…

…U.S. citizens in Ukraine should consider departing now using commercial or other privately available transportation options…the security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv.”

Axios reports Senior State Department officials told reporters on a briefing call that it was the “totality” of the Russian military buildup and threatening posture toward Ukraine over the last several months which led to the decision.

One official stated, “given that the President has said military action by Russia could come at any time, the U.S. government will not be in a position to evacuate U.S. citizens.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Friday with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva.

“We’re looking at what is visible to all, and it is deeds and actions, not words, that make the difference,” said Blinken, despite acknowledging that Lavrov had once again made an assurance that Russia has no intention of attacking Ukraine.

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China Warns Olympic Athletes Could Face Serious Consequences if they Speak Publicly on Human Rights

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Olympics

The 2022 Winter Olympic Games are prepared to begin February 4th in Beijing, but not without consequences. Chinese officials have issued a “warning” to all foreign athletes that they are “subject to certain punishment” if they speak “against the Olympic spirit.”

That “Olympic spirit” means politically speaking out about China. “Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment,” said Yan Shu, deputy director-general of international relations for the Beijing Organizing Committee (BOC).

National Review notes the Chinese Party’s suppression of speech is well known and many are concerned with consequences and punishments for political speech because of strict local laws. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said the Olympic Charter Rule banning protesting at medal ceremonies would force athletes to follow “applicable public law.”

The Associated Press reports according to the IOC athletes can “enjoy freedom of speech” when speaking to journalists or posting to social media during the games. However, the committee expressed any measures that would protect athletes from Chinese persecution.

CBS Sports reports Global Athlete Group director general Rob Koehler suggested Olympians could suffer severe consequences if they criticize China, especially while in the country itself. “Silence is complicity and that’s why we have concerns,” said Koehler. “We know the human rights record and the allowance of freedom of expression in China, so there’s really not much protection” he added.

Last month White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the U.S. government delegation planned to boycott the Olympic Games over the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, including the presumed detention of tennis star Peng Shuai.

“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 winter Olympics and Paralympic Games given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses. The athletes on team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games,” Psaki said.

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