90 Miles From Tyranny : Biden Admin Delays Trial of Alleged Iranian Spy for Third Time

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Biden Admin Delays Trial of Alleged Iranian Spy for Third Time

Republicans concerned trial delayed to appease Tehran during nuclear talks

The Biden administration has for the third time delayed the trial of an accused Iranian spy, renewing concerns that the high-profile case is being used as a bargaining chip in nuclear negotiations with Tehran.

The Justice Department confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday that the trial for Kaveh Lotfollah Afrasiabi would again be delayed. The Iranian citizen and U.S. permanent resident was charged last year with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the Iranian regime. The trial, which was scheduled to move ahead in January, was postponed twice last year at Afrasiabi's request, sparking Republican concerns that the Biden administration was allowing delays to appease Iran while it negotiated a new nuclear deal.

"The defendant complained of medical issues that he claims make it difficult for him to assist in the preparation of his defense, so he has asked for more time and we have not objected," a Justice Department spokesman told the Free Beacon. "This was the motion publicly filed by his standby counsel." No date has been set yet for the trial to commence, according to the spokesman. Afrasiabi's counsel requested that the case be rescheduled for April 20, according to a court filing.

Afrasiabi's case has emerged as a flashpoint between the Biden administration and congressional Republicans, who suspect the case is being used as leverage in ongoing talks with the Iranian government about inking a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear accord. In October 2021, after the case was delayed for a second time, a group of House Republicans wrote to the Biden administration to express their concern "that Afrasiabi is being used by the Iranian regime as a political tool for backdoor negotiations" with Iran, as the Free Beacon reported at the time. The third delay has renewed these concerns.

Iranian Americans for Liberty, a grassroots advocacy group that opposes the hardline regime and works with Congress on the issue, accused Biden's Justice Department of "postponing a clearly winnable case against a well-known operative of the Islamic...

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