Iranian negotiators in the Vienna nuclear talks sitting on the right. FILE PHOTO

Iranian negotiators in the Vienna nuclear talks sitting on the right.

Iran Lawmaker Says There Was Green Light For Talks With Washington

4/16/2022

A lawmaker in Tehran says Iranian nuclear negotiators had the go-ahead to start direct talks with American diplomats, but some politicians prevented the move.

The statement by Gholamreza Nouri, a conservative parliament (Majles) member means that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had issued the authorization to hold direct talks with the United States in Vienna, but others, most likely ultraconservative Paydari party elements such as former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili who are believed to have Iran’s current chief negotiator Ali Bagheri under their influence prevented the move.

Nouri characterized those elements as "a few loud individuals" who have used their influence to derail the negotiations.

The statement was made on the same day that a hardliner political figure close to Paydari, who accompanies Iranian negotiators, Mohammad Marandi, accused US President Joe Biden of not being courageous enough to make a deal and being pressured by Congress not to give any concessions to Iran.

Despite promises made by President Ebrahim Raisi during his election campaign, nine months after he took office, the negotiations have remained inconclusive for various reasons including Russia’s shifting position after the invasion of Ukraine.

Member of Iranian parliament Gholamreza Nouri

During a meeting with Iranian journalists on April 10, Raisi said his government follows the Supreme Leader's strategy about the nuclear talks," meaning that he does not have a plan of its own about furthering the negotiations.

Nouri expressed hope that the government would try to get results from the negotiations so that it can solve the country's economic problems by having US sanctions lifted. He reminded Raisi that during his election campaign he had promised to prevent the nuclear talks from becoming a "negotiation of attrition."

He also urged the government to start direct talks with the United States as the main party to the nuclear deal because others who are acting as mediators pursue their own interests rather than the interests of Tehran or Washington.

On the opposite end of the political spectrum, in an interview with Didban Iran website, another lawmaker, Ali Asghar Annabestani charged that Iranian negotiators in Vienna have violated the red lines defined by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Annabestani, who is close to Paydari Party, said: "We told Raisi to seek guarantees from Americans and verify the US side's fulfilment of its commitments before signing any agreement. But based on evidence at the disposal of the parliament, he has already accepted matters that are not in the country's interests."

"In a letter we sent to Raisi, we called on him to pay attention to the Supreme Leader's directives before it is too late," Anabestani said, referring to a letter signed by more than 250 lawmakers earlier this week.

However, Annabestani insisted that the parliament needs guarantees from the United States: "What if after we sign an agreement, the United States refuses to lift the sanctions and release Iran's frozen assets?" He said, adding that Washington should give guarantees that would be acceptable for Iran.

The hardliner lawmaker added that because of the war in Ukraine, the United States needs an agreement more than Iran. So, the negotiators should patiently continue the talks and refuse to sign anything before they get the necessary guarantees from the United States.

Both these lawmakers are in the same “priniciplist” political camp as Raisi. This means that opposition to the government policies and performance are on the rise even among the president's political allies.

News Summary Repeat (3\') - DC
Chand Chand
Science Weekly

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