U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security team will be meeting China’s national security team for discussions set to take place next week.

The meetings, which are taking place in Alaska, will be led by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, on March 18 and March 19. The event follows heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington, after a series of hostile policies were implemented by the previous Trump administration against China.

The talks coincide with Biden’s first sanctions against Iran, blacklisting two members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The members, who are interrogators for the IRGC, were blacklisted on March 9.

In a statement, Antony Blinken accused the men of “torture and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment” of political prisoners and people detained in 2019 and 2020 for engaging in demonstrations in Iran.

On March 10, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, launched a scathing attack on Iran’s human rights breaches in his latest report on the state of human rights in the country.

The UN rapporteur expressed serious concerns about ongoing unlawful detentions, and the government’s persistent targeting of minorities in Iran, paying particular attention to the way women and girls were treated inside the country.

In response to the report, 39 Iranian and international human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Article 19, signed a letter calling on member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council to support a renewal of the report’s mandate.

The mandate makes several recommendations including a moratorium on the death penalty; a ban on child executions; right to a fair trial; freedom from persecution and the freedom to express opinion as defined in international law.

And, British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was unlawfully detained in Iran for two years on a spying charge, said the Iranian government tried to recruit her as a spy during her detention.

Ms. Moore-Gilbert told Sky News during a televised interview that Iranian officials repeatedly offered to set her free if she agreed to spy on their behalf. Speaking in her first interview since her release in 2020, she said her imprisonment amounted to “psychological torture,”designed to break her.

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