Iran likely to hold off on retaliation over scientist's killing - U.S. envoy

By Humeyra Pamuk and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran is unlikely to retaliate over the assassination of a prominent nuclear scientist before the inauguration of Joe Biden in case it jeopardizes any future sanctions relief, the top U.S. envoy on Iran told Reuters on Thursday. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who had little public profile in Iran but had been named by Israel as a prime player in what it says is Iran’s nuclear weapons quest, was killed on Friday when he was ambushed on a highway near Tehran and his car sprayed with bullets.

Reuters December 04, 2020 02:10:41 IST
Iran likely to hold off on retaliation over scientist's killing - U.S. envoy

Iran likely to hold off on retaliation over scientists killing  US envoy

By Humeyra Pamuk and Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran is unlikely to retaliate over the assassination of a prominent nuclear scientist before the inauguration of Joe Biden in case it jeopardizes any future sanctions relief, the top U.S. envoy on Iran told Reuters on Thursday.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who had little public profile in Iran but had been named by Israel as a prime player in what it says is Iran’s nuclear weapons quest, was killed on Friday when he was ambushed on a highway near Tehran and his car sprayed with bullets.

Elliott Abrams, Washington's special representative on Iran and Venezuela, said in an interview that Tehran was "desperately" in need of sanctions relief from the United States and that would be a key calculation in their decision-making as President-elect Biden takes over from President Donald Trump on Jan. 20.

"If they want sanctions relief, they know that they're going to need to enter some kind of negotiation after January 20, and it's got to be in their minds that they don't want to... undertake any activities between now and Jan 20 that make sanctions relief harder to get," he said.

Iran’s clerical and military rulers have blamed Israel for Fakhrizadeh's killing, which has raised the prospect of a new standoff between Tehran and its longtime enemy. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has declined to comment on the killing.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen since 2018, when Trump abandoned Obama's 2015 nuclear deal, and restored harsh economic sanctions to pressure Tehran to negotiate stricter curbs on its nuclear program, ballistic missile development and support for regional proxy forces.

In retaliation, Tehran gradually breached the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear program. Biden has said he will return the United States to the deal if Iran resumes compliance.

Tehran has always denied seeking nuclear weapons.

Last week, Abrams said the Trump administration was planning to tighten sanctions on Tehran during its final weeks in power but also urged Biden to press for a deal that reduces the regional and nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic.

He added that he expected a negotiation to take place with Iran next year and that he believes a deal will be struck under the Biden administration.

Iran's clerical rulers have ruled out negotiations over its missile program or changing its regional policy. Instead it wants a change in U.S. policy, including the lifting of sanctions.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Mary Milliken and Toby Chopra)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Norway imposes new restrictions to prevent new wave, says PM
World

Norway imposes new restrictions to prevent new wave, says PM

OSLO (Reuters) -Norway will impose fresh restrictions to prevent a resurgence in the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Sunday, including a nationwide ban on serving alcohol in restaurants and bars and not inviting guests home.

Indigenous Venezuelan man accused of raiding military post dies in jail: rights group
World

Indigenous Venezuelan man accused of raiding military post dies in jail: rights group

(Reuters) - A Venezuelan member of the Pemon indigenous group accused of aiding a raid on a military post in late 2019 died on Sunday in a jail close to capital Caracas, rights group Penal Forum said in a tweet. Salvador Franco died just weeks after family members and activists reported he was suffering from health problems.

Norway imposes new restrictions to prevent new COVID-19 wave, says PM
World

Norway imposes new restrictions to prevent new COVID-19 wave, says PM

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway will impose fresh restrictions to prevent a resurgence in the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Sunday, including a nationwide ban on serving alcohol in restaurants and bars and not inviting guests home.