PHOTO: Iran nuclear disarmament talks in Vienna
EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): How fast the B.S. from the mouth of American elites dies!! Wasn’t it just a few days ago that all the Congress “sold-out to special interests” politicians – and all the “talking heads” on TV were telling us that they are fighting for the “budding democracy” (I cannot contain my laughter…) in Ukraine? Well, forget it… Please take a look below at the news: the US sent a delegation to Venezuela and plan to suspend sanctions against Iran!! Why? You guessed it: oil… But Biden would not reverse his “sanctions” against domestic production!! It’s not only the pressure from the lunatic left of the Democrats… It may be that tons of “Bribery” money could be made for Hunter and the rest of the Biden “mafia-like” family…
The trip, the highest-level U.S. visit to Venezuela in years, came as part of a U.S. effort to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some analysts also see U.S.-sanctioned Venezuela as a potential alternate source of oil supplies should Washington attempt to restrict Moscow’s energy shipments.
U.S. and Venezuelan officials held a round of talks on Saturday but reached no agreement, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. It was unclear whether a further meeting would be held.
The visit, which involved senior White House and State Department officials, was first reported by the New York Times.
The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The two countries broke off diplomatic relations in 2019 amid a campaign of U.S. sanctions and diplomatic pressure aimed at ousting Maduro, a longtime Putin ally.
The administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump and dozens of other countries deemed Maduro’s 2018 re-election a sham and instead recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate president.
But Maduro has retained power with the backing of country’s OPEC member’s military as well as Russia, China, Cuba and Iran.
President Joe Biden’s administration has insisted it will not lift sanctions, including on Venezuela’s vital oil sector, unless Maduro takes concrete steps toward holding free elections.
While Venezuela’s oil exports have taken a major hit, Russian oil companies and banks have played a key role in helping Maduro and state-run oil company PDVSA evade U.S. sanctions and continue shipments.
The United States and its allies have come under growing pressure to further punish Russia for its military onslaught against Ukraine by sanctioning Russia’s oil and gas exports, and the White House has said all options remain on the table.
Some commentators have suggested that easing sanctions on Venezuela could provide an alternate source of global energy supplies, thought critics say Maduro should not be allowed to benefit without changing his behavior.
Venezuela on Feb. 25 blamed the United States and NATO for the crisis in Ukraine, though it expressed “worry over the worsening of the crisis” there. Cuba and Nicaragua have also defended Putin’s stance on Ukraine.
In a March 1 phone call, Putin and Maduro discussed the situation in Ukraine and talked about increasing a strategic partnership between Russia and Venezuela, the Interfax news agency reported, citing the Kremlin.
The US is preparing to lift all sanctions on Iran
WASHINGTON, United States – Nearly a year of indirect talks between the US and Iran maybe coming to an end soon either with or without an agreement. Diplomats say the negotiations have reached a critical point to bring the US and Iran back into compliance of the 2015 Nuclear deal which former president Trump, pulled out of in 2018.
In an interview with Rudaw, Gabriel Noronha, Former Special Advisor for the State Department’s Iran Action Group in the Trump administration says the new deal is “a much worse deal for us, and much better deal for Iran”
The former state department official says, the US is preparing to lift sanctions that are not only sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program, but sanctions that were imposed on individuals and entities.
“These were sanctions that President Trump put on, that were not related to the nuclear program. President Biden promising to lift almost all of these sanctions under the new deal” Noronha told Rudaw.
Particularly concerning for Noronha, is lifting sanctions that were put on individuals for alleged involvement in the 1983 Beirut bombing, “The sanctions that are being lifted that worries me the most are on Iran’s worst terrorist for example one of the generals whose behind the Barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983 that killed 240 Americans, or two of the generals that bombed a Jewish center in Argentina killing 85 people.”
In 2019, Noronha was a special advisor to the Iran Action Group, which was tasked with handling the State Department’s Iran policy and reported directly to the then secretary of state Mike Pompeo. He was fired in 2021 for tweeting that the then president Trump was not fit for office, according to multiple media reports. Noronha, says his colleagues in the current state department have told him that they have been instructed to tone down their criticism of Iran, “I have spoken with people inside the state department who have verified that they have been told not to speak out on human rights abuses inside Iran because they are afraid that it will make Iranians less likely to make a nuclear deal with them.”
Republicans are concerned that the new deal only delays Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, enabling Iran of acquiring the weapon in the future, when its economy is in a much better shape, and its defenses stronger to protect such future weapons.
“What the JCPOA did was really just kick the can down the road,” Noronha told Rudaw, “They will be able to it when it’s a much richer country, which can spend more money on its defense, on missile defenses, anti-aircraft defenses that would prevent a country from destroying its nuclear program, like Israel”
In mid-February, a group of House Republicans wrote a letter to President Biden, warning his administration that the new nuclear deal needs to be submitted to the congress for review, otherwise, any deal without the Congress’s approval would “meet the same fate” as the 2015 nuclear deal.
Noronha says Congress has the right to review the deal, but he is concerned that “the Biden Administration is planning to ignore that entirely”.
In that case, Republicans in Congress can send a strong message, says Noronha, “They are likely to say if we take the majority in the house and senate back in …. One year we will re-impose those sanctions on Iran” referring to the much anticipated mid-term elections in November, 2022 where all 435 Congressional seats and 35 seats in the Senate will be up for grabs.
Noronha adds Republicans are also likely to say, “If we take the presidency in three years, we are getting out of the deal and we are re-sanctioning all the Iranian banks and individuals, entities”
“What that will do, is if you are a European, if you are an American company and you are thinking about investing in Iran, this sends a strong message, it’s an awful idea, you will lose any money that you will invest in Iran if you go and do that. And that’s the most important message the republicans in Congress can send right now.”