Why a terrorist designation is the latest sticking point in US-Iranian talks
Iran’s insistence on rescinding the IRGC’s designation as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) appears to be the latest major sticking point in the talks, with neither side showing new signs of compromise.
But on Saturday, the Houthis said they were suspending missile and drone strikes on Saudi Arabia for three days as part of a peace initiative they said could be a lasting commitment if the Saudi-led coalition Saudi Arabia halted airstrikes and lifted port restrictions in Yemen.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian appeared to hint at a compromise on Saturday before backtracking. He said in a state television interview that senior IRGC officials had urged him not to delay a nuclear deal over “the IRGC issue”. It would be a “self-sacrifice” that the group is making, he said.
Amir-Abdollahian’s remarks were met with strong reaction in Iranian media. Later he seemed to backtrack, saying “there is no crossing or compromising on red lines [on delisting as an FTO] at all.”
When pressed to do so on Sunday, Malley did not rule out debarment, saying only that sanctions against the group would remain “no matter what happens.”
Some analysts said the terrorist designation had little more than symbolic value for both sides.
The implications of delisting from the IRGC are only symbolic, as sanctions prior to the 2015 deal will continue to stifle the group economically, said Mehran Haghirian, director of regional initiatives at the Exchange & Bazaar Foundation.
“The FTO designation is superfluous,” added Ali Vaez, Iran Project Director for the International Crisis Group. “It doesn’t help the United States, it doesn’t hurt Iran.”
“It’s an absurd non-issue,” he said. “No other entity is as sanctioned by the United States as the IRGC,” he said.
Mohammad Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, said the designation is important because it gives the United States a pretext to target the group militarily.
“When the United States and Iran are both present [in the Persian Gulf] and both sides view the other navy as a terrorist organization, so there are no lines of communication, and that could create major problems,” he said.
“The United States assassinated a senior Iranian military official…then for them to keep Iran on a list of terrorist organizations – this is unacceptable to Iran,” Marandi said.
Tehran is unlikely to accept anything other than a complete reversal of the FTO designation, Vaez and Marandi said. “There is no middle ground on the issue,” Vaez added.
Iran realizes that sanctions and the FTO designation are separate issues, the latter a legacy from the Trump era, analysts said. “It was symbolically imposed by Trump,” Haghirian said. “They knew it wouldn’t have much impact.”
The Iranian foreign minister’s comments on state television that later warranted clarification were likely to say that the IRGC “has no problem staying sanctioned – they will do what they have to do”, he said. said Marandi. “The FTO is a different problem.”
With additional reporting by Adam Pourahmadi and Abbas Al Lawati, CNN
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- context: The United Arab Emirates sent confusing messages earlier this month about whether or not it supported higher production when its ambassador in Washington said his country would encourage OPEC to consider higher production. The Department of Energy has since repeatedly stated that it approves of OPEC+ decisions and only acts within them.
- why is it important: The minister’s comment comes days before the OPEC+ group is due to meet on Thursday to discuss renewing an agreement to gradually increase production. Consumer states have called for a faster ramp-up of production to rein in rising prices.
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- why is it important: The attack coincided with a historic regional summit in Israel’s Negev desert, where senior diplomats from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Israel and the United States met to discuss security issues. It was the first time since June 2017 that ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack in Israel, according to SITE.
What to watch
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin speaks with Becky Anderson about sticking points between Russia and Ukraine ahead of talks between the warring sides in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Around the region
From leftovers on our plates to an environmentally friendly product. Shrimp shells have found a new destination in organic farming.
In a small laboratory in Giza, Egypt, researchers have found a way to use shrimp to create organic products from their shells.
Every year, the nation throws away thousands of tons of shrimp waste that pollutes the environment. Shrimp is abundant in the country and is the key ingredient in a product that could potentially change the way Egyptians farm.
This ingredient is chitosan, the sugar that comes from the outer skeleton of shellfish.
Shahira Yehia’s biotech startup, Chitosan Egypt, gathers shrimp waste from about five or six local hubs across the country, extracts the chitosan and processes it into unique formulas that can replace man-made synthetic fertilizers that can be harmful to the environment. ‘environment.
It does this by separating the minerals from the shells, drying them and grinding them into an organic product for agriculture.
It works as a natural resource that boosts plant immunity, Yehia said. “It targets more than 70 pests in 20 strategic crops, ranging from potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries.”
Like many developing countries, the agricultural sector is a significant contributor to gross domestic product in Egypt, accounting for over 11%. Yehia says that in addition to being environmentally friendly, her product is 20% cheaper than what Egyptian farmers are used to.
By Yara Enany, CNN