Former head of Iran's nuclear program and member of parliament Fereydoun Abbasi. FILE

Former head of Iran's nuclear program and member of parliament Fereydoun Abbasi

Do Iranian Lawmakers Have A Copy Of Draft Nuclear Deal?

4/10/2022

Iran's former nuclear chief Fereydoun Abbasi says Iranian lawmakers have not officially received a copy of a new nuclear agreement drafted in the Vienna talks.

However, several members of the Iranian parliament (Majles) claim that they have read the text of a new agreement between Iran and the United States.

Abbasi, who is currently an member of parliament from Kazeroun in Fars province and a member of the parliament's Energy Committee, told the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on Sunday that Iran’s negotiators have never briefed lawmakers on the nuclear talks, and the speaker of the Majles has also not shared an official text with MPs.

Abbasi’s remarks come while 250 lawmakers who wrote a letter to President Ebrahim Raisi telling him not to accept any agreement without a US guarantee to uphold the deal, claim to have seen the draft of an agreement.

Last week, hardliner lawmaker, Mahmoud Nabavian, a Paydari Party member, said in an interview with Fars News Agency that he and some other members of the parliament have already read the text exchanged between the Iranian and US negotiators. Incidentally, what the lawmakers wrote in the letter to Raisi on Sunday, was identical to what Nabavian had called for in terms of guarantees.

Reading Abbasi’s remarks carefully, he did not explicitly deny that a text is circulating among lawmakers. What he said was that an official version was not shared with parliament members.

He reiterated that "Unfortunately, no one in Iran has told us what has been going on between the Iranian and US negotiators." He stressed that both the Energy Committee and the National Security Committee have been left in the dark about the negotiations.

Abbasi sounding upset warned that [the officials] should not play with the Majles, adding, "under the circumstances, we cannot offer any advice to the Majles."

When he was told that it appears to outsiders there are good ties between the parliament and the administration, Abbasi said: "The information we need is not communicated to us. I have even asked other MPs whether they have been given any new insight, but it appears that we lack the information that would enable us to defend the negotiators."

Abbasi further said: "We still do not know why the other side refuses to lift the sanctions. We do not know if they have a point to make about the Islamic Revolution, Iran's defensive power, or Iran being an emerging global power.”

He added: "The two sides have no problem regarding the nuclear issue. The 2015 agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) had made everything clear and we had accepted it, although it was not in our interest. And we were carrying it out. Why didn't they [the US side] fulfil their commitments? This is what the negotiators should come forward and tell us."

Asked why Paydari members oppose the nuclear talks, Abbasi said: They are wise men, and they are not obstructionists. Of course, they are party members, but at the same time, they have their independent ideas.

Meanwhile, Abbasi who is known to be linked to Paydari, denied his membership in the party. "My problem with the negotiations is that the negotiators haven not told us anything about it."

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