Spokesman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Relations Committee Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini

Spokesman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Relations Committee Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini

Senior Lawmaker Criticizes Iran’s Nuclear Negotiators

7/8/2022

An influential lawmaker in Iran has criticized the performance of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team in indirect talks with the United States in Doha last week.

The spokesman for the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Relations Committee Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini says Iran's nuclear negotiators could have done better Doha.

Speaking to the centrist Entekhab news website in Tehran, Meshkini said the Iranian team's presence in Doha was uncalculated and that the team did not have a roadmap. He further charged that the Iranian Foreign Ministry lacks a roadmap about how to go about with the negotiations.

The United States' special representative for Iran Robert Malley has described the talks in Doha as "a waste of time" and said that Iranians first need negotiations among themselves. This comes while Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdolahian has characterized the negotiations in Doha as "positive".

Meshkini told Entekhab: "The Iranian Foreign Ministry still lacks a framework for the talks and does not know how to get concessions." He said that the Foreign Ministry needs "a deep transformation" without which the Islamic Republic will find it difficult and costly to pursue its strategy.

He added that developments in the region gave Iran the upper hand, but Tehran needs a roadmap to take advantage. On the other hand, Westerners are more experienced than Iranian negotiators and their moves are based on seeking concessions.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Tehran on June 25, 2022

Meshkini concluded that the parliament should pass laws similar to the 2020 legislation that ordered the government to reduce its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal and push the government to come up with an authoritative roadmap for the talks.

Meanwhile, foreign policy commentator Amir Ali Abolfath told the conservative Nameh News website that those interested in solving the nuclear issue, including European officials, should go to Washington rather than to Tehran and try to convince the United States to return to the 2015 agreement, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Nameh News described the shuttle diplomacy by European and Persian Gulf officials who frequently visit Tehran to encourage Iran to return to direct talks with the United States as "useless shuttle diplomacy." However, the website acknowledged that perhaps the visits to Tehran by Qatari officials could be more fruitful.

"As long as Washington is not willing to return to the JCPOA, talking with Tehran is not likely to be effective. They come and go and take messages here and there and express hope in further developments. But the train of the negotiations is stuck and will not move forward," said Abolfath.

Eleven months of talks in Vienna were said to be close to a successful conclusion when diplomats ended the process over remaining differences between Washington and Tehran.

Since then, statements by both sides have indicated that Iran demands the lifting of all US sanctions imposed since May 2018 when former President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA and imposed heavy economic penalties on Tehran.

Among these sanctions, the trickiest are those imposed on the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and its web of companies that are closely intertwined with its financial empire.

The IRGC is Iran’s primary military force, but it is also an intelligence organization that secretly supplies weapons and money to a host of non-state actors involved in terror activities in the region.

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