Russian chief envoy in Vienna talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, with Iran negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani.

Iran Politician Says Tehran Should Cut Out Mediators Like Russia

Wednesday, 03/09/2022

A senior Iranian politician says Tehran should start direct talks with Washington to cut out mediators like Russia who pursue ulterior motives in the nuclear talks.

The former chief of Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh told local media that the Russians wish to return Iran's nuclear dossier to the United Nation's Security Council.

In an interview with Khabar Online website in Tehran, Falahatpisheh also said that Iran should make sure Russia will not once again become the main player in Iran's diplomacy.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comments demanding the exclusion of Moscow's economic ties with Iran from the sanctions imposed on Russia by the West, has once again brought Tehran-Moscow relations under the spotlight, and created uncertainty in nuclear talks that diplomats worked for 11 months to shape.

He added that under the circumstances, it is in everybody's interest that Iran gets rid of mediators and engages in talks with the United States for better results.

In another part of the interview Falahatpisheh said it was a mistake by President Ebrahim Raisi to call Russian President Vladimir Putin on the first day of the Ukraine invasion. During the telephone conversation, Raisi expressed support for Russia's position in the war and blamed the West for the Ukraine crisis.

Falahatpisheh has warned that Iran should do its best to avoid the dangerous return of its nuclear case to the UNSC. The solution he suggested for this is maintaining direct dialogue with the United States. He said that it is the Russia’s policy to tie everything to the Ukraine crisis in one way or another. He also charged that Russian negotiator Mikhail Ulyanov did his best during the Vienna talks to prevent the shaping of an agreement between Iran and the West.

Russia has publicly backed the restoration of the 2015 nuclear agreement, the JCPOA and the Vienna talks.

Falahatpisheh suggested that Iran should not make itself a prisoner of history. "Tehran should see and understand modern history and find out that Russia is playing with it," he said, adding that the Russians have not contributed to Iran's bargaining power in the negotiations. Falahatpisheh also suggested that Iranians should not wait for Russia to make a move.

He said, however, Iran should not easily give up its nuclear program and its progress, like Libya did under Muammar al Ghaddafi or Ukraine did after the Soviet Union. "We know what happened to Libya and Ukraine," Falahatpisheh said, Iran should use its nuclear program as part of the country's development plan. Companies from all over the world can be Iran's partners to ensure economic growth.

Meanwhile, according to the reformist newspaper Sharq while an agreement with the West appears to be at hand, radicals at the Iranian Parliament (Majles) are expressing their opposition to what Iran’s negotiators have achieved in Vienna. According to Sharq, the radicals who constitute a small minority in the parliament, not only oppose the negotiating team, but they are also working against Iran's national interests. Sharq called the group, presumably the most radical elements of the ultraconservative Paydari party "The anti-agreement committee."

This comes while under the current circumstances and Russia's obstructionism, the negotiators need support from inside the Iranian political establishment more than before.

The committee members, wrote Sharq, bullied Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian during his visit to parliament on Monday to brief the MPs. Sharq wrote that "independent and moderate MPs" did not show up at the meeting with the minister although they were invited to the meeting.

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