As nuclear talks end in New York and prepare to move to Europe, Iran has pressed the issue of the removal of UN, European Union, and US sanctions.

Iran’s lead negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi (pictured), said that “all economic and political sanctions against Iran have to be lifted” on the day that Tehran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Russia, Germany, and China) reach a comprehensive agreement.

Iran and the US have fenced over the issue since a nuclear framework was announced on April 2, with a view to a resolution by a June 30 deadline. Iranian officials have called for the immediate, full removal of the sanctions. The US says lifting or suspension is linked to International Atomic Energy Agency verification of Iranian compliance with the terms of the agreement.

Both sides have signaled at least a small measure of flexibility in the last 10 days. President Obama has said that most sanctions can be removed on the day of signature, provided they can be re-imposed if Iran violates the deal. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that termination of sanctions is linked to verification, while declaring this can be accomplished “within a few days”.

Araqchi played down differences over another headline issue, the inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Commenting on a remark by US Secretary of State John Kerry that the inspections will be long-term, he said this was “not odd”, as they were part of the regulations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Araqchi’s comments play down the recent tough remarks of Iranian officials ruling out unrestricted access to Tehran’s military sites. Those remarks are more for public consumption than a reflection of the talks: the 5+1 Powers’ focus is on inspection of nuclear facilities and uranium enrichment plants, while the guidelines for access to military sites are being left to discussions between the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Islamic Republic.

Since last Thursday, the Iranian delegation and the European Union’s deputy foreign policy head, Helga Schmid, have spent dozens of hours drafting the text of a final agreement. While expressing optimism, Araqchi and Zarif have both cautioned that the text will have gaps when it is presented to an Iran-5+1 meeting.

The discussions adjourn today, although experts from the two sides will stay in New York until Thursday. The negotiations will resume in Vienna next week.

Human Rights Activist Mohammadi Imprisoned After Denouncing Court as “Illegitimate”

Human rights activist Narges Mohammadi has been detained after she told a Revolutionary Court that it was illegitimate.

Mohammadi was summoned to appear on Sunday on charges of propaganda against the state, assembly and collusion against national security, and establishment of Step by Step to Stop Death Penalty group.

She said before the hearing, “I do not accept any of these charges. Even my presence at a gathering outside the Parliament to protest the acid attacks [against women in Isfahan] is reflected as ‘participation in riots’.”

See Iran Daily, May 2: Civil Rights Activist Mohammadi Charged with “Crimes Against National Security”

On Monday, officers seized Mohammadi at her home.

The activist was arrested in 2009 and sentenced in October 2011 to 11 years in prison for assembly and collusion against national security, membership in the Center for Defenders of Human Rights, and propaganda against the state. The term was reduced by an appeals court to six years in prison.

Mohammadi was released on health grounds in 2013 on bail of 600 million Toman (approximately $200,000). However, authorities began to pressure her again after she was among women meeting European Union foreign policy chief head Catherine Ashton in Tehran in March 2014.

Wife of Detained Opposition Leader Karroubi: Rouhani Government “Shirking Responsibility”

Fatemeh Karroubi, the wife of detained opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, has written a letter challenging the Rouhani Government’s “shirking of responsibility” over strict house arrests imposed in February 2011.

Karroubi and fellow Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard were seized as the regime feared a revival of the mass protests that had started after the disputed 2009 Presidential election. Fatemeh Karroubi was also held for several months.

Mehdi Karroubi and Mousavi were both candidates in the 2009 election “won” by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Fatemeh Karroubi wrote to Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi:

During the term of the former intelligence minister, there was an intermediary who could make decisions about the small daily matters or relay the decisions of his superiors. Now there is a complete shirking of responsibility and no effective intermediary to resolve the smallest matter.

During his Presidential campaign in 2013, Hassan Rouhani promised to end the house arrests. However, the move has been opposed by the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Council of National Security, and Rouhani has not spoken about the issue since soon after his inauguration, despite the efforts of a leading MP, Ali Motahari, for the end to the house arrests and a fair trial for Karroubi, Mousavi, and Rahnavard.