The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Elliot Abrams, briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the “maximum pressure” campaign and affirmed that the strategy had “two primary objectives. First, to deprive the Iranian regime of the money it needs to support its destabilising activities. Second to bring Iran to the negotiating table to conclude a comprehensive deal”, which he indicated would “address four key areas: its nuclear program, its ballistic missile development and proliferation, its support to terror groups and proxies and its wrongful detention of U.S. citizens”. Iran “need only meet our diplomacy with diplomacy, not with violence, bloodshed and attempted extortions”, Abrams added, while maintaining that “by any measure, the Iranian regime is weaker today than when President Trump took office”. Referring to two prisoner swaps between Iran and the U.S., Abrams assessed that “our negotiations with Iran have already shown dividends and are a model of how the U.S. ought to approach the regime”, emphasising: “there was no payment for the Americans, no sanctions relief granted and no pallets of cash loaded on planes to the Iranian regime in exchange for their release”.
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