Scientists, scholars, professors press Biden to not unwind sanctions on Tehran

Getty Images • April 7, 2021 5:00 pm

A group of more than 300 prominent Iranian Americans are petitioning the Biden administration to publicly support dissident efforts to overthrow the Islamic Republic’s hardline clerical government.

As the Biden administration seeks direct talks with Iran’s mullahs in pursuit of a revamped nuclear agreement, the group of Iranian Americans—including scholars, professors, physicians, and industry executives—is warning the White House against unwinding economic sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy and sparked widespread anti-government protests.

“In the last 4 years, hunger, poverty, and dire economic conditions have been the initial trigger of the uprisings, but people’s demands quickly evolved to regime change. Their call is loud and clear, and cannot be ignored,” the leaders write, according to a copy of the letter sent on Wednesday to the White House and first obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. “Furthermore, no sanctions relief or concessions should be provided to the Iranian regime, unless that regime verifiably ends its human rights abuses in Iran and terrorism abroad, and abandons its destructive support for proxies in the region.”

The letter, organized by the Iranian Professionals’ Ad Hoc Committee on Iran Policy, comes as U.S., European, and Iranian diplomats meet in Vienna in hopes of laying the groundwork for the United States to reenter the 2015 nuclear accord. Former president Donald Trump abandoned the agreement in 2018, citing Iran’s non-compliance.

The Biden administration has already committed to unwinding tough economic sanctions on Iran before it ceases its increased nuclear work, which includes enriching uranium to levels needed to power an atomic weapon. These advance concessions have riled the majority of congressional Republicans and even some Democratic foreign policy leaders, who warned the administration last month against granting sanctions relief before Iran takes concrete steps to move back into compliance with the original accord.

Iranian leaders continue to demand the United States remove all sanctions before it agrees to reduce its nuclear weapons work. Iran’s stockpiles of 20-percent enriched

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