Tuesday , 28 June 2022

Iran’s parliament presses Raisi to ask for more in nuclear talks

Al-Monitor – Members of the Iranian parliament submitted a letter to the country’s President Ebrahim Raisi on April 5, calling on him to take a tougher stand in the currently paused indirect talks with the United States over the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Drafted by hard-line lawmaker Mahmoud Nabavian, the letter received signatures from 190 members, more than two thirds of the conservative legislative body. 

According to Iranian media outlets, the document specifically urged Raisi to seek “more robust guarantees” from Washington before any new accord, which Tehran and world powers have been intensely negotiating in multiple rounds over the past year.    

The original 2015 accord was ratified by the former Iranian parliament in a brief 20-minute session, which drew criticism from hard-liners as a hasty process pushed by moderate factions supporting the deal. A potential revived accord would not legally require any parliamentary passage, the spokesman for the Iranian parliament’s presiding board noted in February.

Iran has demanded that the administration of US President Joe Biden secure the new agreement with verifiable sanctions relief and guarantees on the compliance of succeeding US presidents.

Progress in the negotiations has almost entirely stalled since March 11. Among other sticking points, the Iranian negotiators are pressing the US government to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from its list of foreign terrorist organizations.

The IRGC, however, has been demonstrating no signs of a conciliatory tone. In a statement last week on the 43rd anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Republic, the Guards referred to the United States as “the mafia, terrorist regime,” and accused it of “delusional speech.” The IRGC portrayed itself as a legitimate force with “regional influence and popularity” and vowed to strengthen its missile power without regard to American pressure.

Earlier this month, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian suggested that the IRGC remains a key unresolved topic in the talks. And in his latest tweet on the talks, he blamed the pause on US “excessive demands,” to which “we will never give in.”    

And on Monday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference in Tehran that the Islamic Republic is still awaiting “political decisions” from the United States, accusing it of “taking the remaining issues as hostage” to its domestic politics.

“We cannot afford to stay patient forever,” the Iranian spokesman warned US officials.