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Judge reinstates third-degree murder charge against former cop Derek Chauvin

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A judge on Thursday reinstated a third-degree murder charge against the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd last May.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill should reconsider the third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, which was dismissed in October.

Cahill granted the request from prosecutors to reinstate the charge after Minnesota’s Supreme Court denied an appeal from Chauvin Wednesday.

Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Jury selection continued Thursday following debate over the new charge. Five jurors have been selected so far – four men and one woman.

The Hill has reported that legal experts think the additional murder charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, will increase the prosecution’s chances of getting a conviction.

It has not been reported if the new charge could impact the trial’s expected start date of March 29.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Middle East

Iranian Americans and exiles increase pressure on Biden to end negotiations with Iran

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As the world rallies around the women’s rights movement protesting the Islamic regime following the death of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, the pressure on Biden to cease nuclear negotiations intensifies.

“Iranian Americans have held rallies in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and many other places in the U.S., chanting for the downfall of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, while calling on the international community to help” writes the Foreign Desk.

During a Sunday rally at the Los Angeles Federal building in Westwood, many young and old attendees spoke to the Foreign Desk and explained their reasons for being against a nuclear agreement while speaking on condition of anonymity:

While many Iranians have been vocal on social media and are attending solidarity protests, most are still fearful of retribution against their friends and family in Iran and requested that their actual names not be used in writing this piece. 

Some Iranian Americans stated that negotiations with Iranian officials would “legitimize the regime and their actions.” Other rallygoers explained that by negotiating with Iran’s regime and removing the economic sanctions, the regime could “build a nuclear bomb against Israel and the U.S..” Instead, they argued that the President should “do more” to punish the Islamic regime and “target its leadership.”

Young Iranian immigrants at the rally argued that instead of removing economic sanctions as stipulated in the nuclear negotiations, the President should actually “put more economic sanctions on the regime,” and that by placing harsher sanctions on the regime, their friends, family members, and the whole country would suffer, but it would significantly “hurt the regime.” 

When asked if they were confident that President Biden would stop negotiations with the regime, many believed that the administration would continue their talks, no matter how big the outcry.

The Foreign Desk  explains that the Iranian regime continues to crack down on protesters without relent. However, the State Department has again confirmed its intention to pursue a nuclear agreement with Iran’s regime.

“We are doing everything we can not only to support the human rights and the aspirations for greater freedom of the Iranian people, but also to hold accountable those within the Iranian system that are responsible for violence against the Iranian people,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price. “When it comes to Iran, though, there would be no greater challenge to the U.S., to our partners, and to the broader international system than an Iran with a nuclear weapon,” said Price.

Price acknowledged that while a deal is not guaranteed to come together, he stated that America has been “sincere and steadfast” in negotiating a potential return to the nuclear agreement but reiterated that the U.S. is “not willing to bend.”

Many experts are comparing the President’s decision to negotiate with the regime amid the crackdowns to President Obama’s actions during the 2009 Green Revolution, where Iranian citizens took to the streets to protest the rigged presidential election results.

Iranian leaders like exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi stated that a nuclear agreement with Iran would be “worse” than the one signed in 2015.

“The Iranian regime has the capability, the technology, and the material to fabricate a bomb,” Pahlavi said. According to the Prince, the failure of the original Iran nuclear agreement would result in “the regime becoming even more radical.”

“Repeating the same mistake with hindsight is even worse than the first one,” he added.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate have called on the administration to cancel nuclear negotiations with Iran and enact a maximum pressure campaign against the regime just like the former Trump administration did. Members of Congress from both political sides have vowed that they will not vote to lift sanctions from Iran or officially finalize a nuclear agreement should one come through.

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