Negotiations taking place in Vienna to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal slowed down this week, as the outcome of Iran’s presidential elections took center stage following Ebrahim Raisi’s confirmation as the country’s new president.
The indirect talks, which are being held by diplomats for world powers signed up to the deal, were put on hold last Sunday as states discussed the status of the agreement amongst themselves.
While Iran suggested on Wednesday that the United Stated had agreed to lift sanctions on Iran’s oil and shipping sectors, a spokesperson for the Biden administration said nothing had yet been agreed.
The US Justice Department seized 36 Iran-linked websites, accusing them of spreading disinformation, and being in breach of US sanctions.
The seized sites included Iran’s State media outlet Press TV, which broadcasts in English. Washington said several of the sites, which are owned by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union, had failed to obtain a license from the US Treasury before using their domain names.
The Justice Department said it had previously taken control of 92 domains used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps posing as independent media outlets which targeted audiences in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
And the UN’s Secretary-General, António Guterres, said the human rights situation in Iran was of “serious concern’ in his latest report on the Islamic Republic.
The diplomat criticized the regime’s ongoing use of the death penalty in the country, and expressed alarm at judicial authorities’ prolific use of torture and forced confessions against children, women and men.
The report also raised concerns about the “criminalization of the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly and at the violent dispersal of peaceful protests,” as well as a lack of protection for women exposed to sexual violence and the arbitrary detention of ethnic minorities.