US President Joe Biden said the United States will not lift its economic sanctions on Iran in order to get Tehran back to the negotiating table to discuss how to revive the Iran nuclear deal, according to a video released by CBS News on Sunday.
Asked if the United States will lift sanctions first to get Iran back to the negotiating table, Biden replied: "no" in the interview, which was recorded on Friday. Asked if Iran had to stop enriching uranium first, Biden nodded. It was not clear exactly what he meant, as Iran is permitted to enrich uranium under the 2015 nuclear deal within certain limits.
Also, Joe Biden, the first sitting US president to openly oppose the death penalty, has discussed the possibility of instructing the Department of Justice to stop scheduling new executions, officials have told The Associated Press.
If he does, that would end an extraordinary run of executions by the federal government, all during a pandemic that raged inside prison walls and infected journalists, federal employees and even those put to death.
The officials had knowledge of the private discussions with Biden but were not authorized to speak publicly about them.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, when asked Friday about Biden's plans on the death penalty, said she had nothing to preview on the issue.
Action to stop scheduling new executions could take immediate pressure off Biden from opponents of the death penalty. But they want him to go much further, from bulldozing the federal death chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana, to striking the death penalty from U.S. statutes entirely.
Besides, the Biden administration said it is withdrawing the US from agreements with three Central American countries that restricted the ability of people to seek asylum at the southwest border, part of a broad effort to undo the the immigration policies of President Donald Trump.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday the administration had notified El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that it had started the formal process of terminating agreements that had been part of Trump's effort to restrict asylum.
The agreements, which had been on hold since early in the coronavirus pandemic, required many people seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border to go instead to one of the three Central American countries and pursue their claims there.