Iranian-Americans urge the Biden administration to consider human rights in its negotiations with Tehran
A group of more than 500 Iranian American scientists, scholars and engineers urged President Biden Tuesday to not remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations as nuclear talks stall.
Biden made bringing Tehran back under a nuclear deal a cornerstone of his candidacy, and indirect talks facilitated by European partners have continued for nearly a year.
President Hassan Rouhani visits the Bushehr nuclear power plant just outside of Bushehr, Iran, on Jan. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Iranian Presidency Office, Mohammad Berno, File)
Iran has demanded sanction relief and the removal of its top military branch from the U.S. list of designated terrorist groups – an idea the administration has reportedly considered in exchange for regional peace.
“This regime has survived on two pillars,” University of Connecticut professor and dean of the School of Engineering, Kazem Kazerounian, told Fox News Digital. “One is repression at home and terrorism abroad. IRGC has been the main instrument in securing its survival and pursuing these two sinister objectives.
“That’s why they are so keen on removing IRGC from the FTO list,” he added.
The letter, led by Kazerounian and signed by another 501 Iranian officials, claimed the IRGC not only “safeguards” Iran’s dictatorship but impedes any progress of human rights advancements.
The Revolutionary Guard was first sanctioned in 2007 for providing support to external terrorist organizations in the region and was then added to the FTO list in 2019 for “fuel[ing] terrorism, violence and unrest across the Middle East.”
Technicians at the Arak heavy water reactor’s secondary circuit,150 miles southwest of Tehran, Iran, on Dec. 23, 2019. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP, FILE)
Iranian lawmakers this week set another round of stipulations they want the U.S. to adhere to in order for it to agree to revive a deal reminiscent of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Tehran has called on Washington to agree not to once again pull out of a negotiated deal following the Trump administration’s withdrawal in 2018, along with the pledge to not instate snap-back sanctions, reported Reuters.
Talks once again appeared to have stalled between the West and Iran – both of whom accuse each other of not taking the negotiations seriously.
Kazerounian argued the talks should not only be about ensuring nuclear stability but should also target issues surrounding human rights.
“When you look at the ongoing anti-regime protests inside Iran, they want this regime gone. This regime is weak, lacks legitimacy, and the main opposition, the MEK, is gaining ground inside Iran,” he said in reference to a leftist group in Iran. “We must look at Tehran’s issue more holistically for the sake of world peace and stability.”
The Iranian professor said the real issue lies in his belief that Iran will not stop until it acquires a nuclear weapon – whether or not there is an international deal barring its development.
“We insist on holding Tehran accountable beyond the nuclear issue and have asked President Biden to stand with the people of Iran in their quest for freedom,” he added.