Ultra-conservative editor of Kayhan newspaper Hossein Shariatmadari

Hardliner Says Nuclear Talks Futile, Iran Should Exit NPT

Sunday, 09/04/2022

A top Iranian ultra-conservative close to the Supreme Leader says nuclear talks with the West are futile and Iran should exit the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Fars news website affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard Sunday published an interview with Hossein Shariatmadari, chief editor of the hardliner Kayhan Daily, blasting the nuclear negotiations as a Western ploy and recommending to quit the NPT.

Kayhan is published under the supervision of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office and Shariatmadari is his representative at the flagship paper.

The ultra-conservative ideologue said that 20 years of talks prove that “the other side is not worried about Iran producing nuclear weapons, rather it uses the issue as an excuse to keep sanctions” as the only remaining lever for the United States “to confront Islamic Iran,” and it will never give then up.

He went on to argue that consequently, it is meaningless to negotiate, and diplomacy “will lead nowhere”. As an example, Shariatmadari said that the United States openly and clearly says it cannot provide guarantees about its commitments to an agreement. “What kind of an agreement is it when the other side is not willing to provide guarantees about acting according to its commitments?”

At the same time, Ali Khezrian, a member of parliament from the hardliner Paydari Front, in a note published by media, quoted specific clauses of what he claimed to be the new draft nuclear deal, arguing that it is a weak agreement for Iran.

Hardliner member of Iran's parliament, Ali Khezrian

He argued that nuclear activities should not be reduced before US sanctions are lifted and Iran is able to verify that it can conduct business without being impeded by US economic restrictions.

He cited the draft agreement to say that the new deal does not meet this Iranian demand, inscribed in a parliament law passed in December 2020. Khezrian specifically referred to the third appendix of the draft agreement arguing that the US will remove oil sanctions after Iran begins reducing its key nuclear activities, without a chance to verify the US step.

The lawmaker also complained that Washington has not provided any guarantees in the new agreement to remain in the deal and not to use the UN Security Council ‘trigger mechanism’, or to impose new sanctions. On the contrary, Khezrian claimed that in section 5 of the draft, it is Iran that first has to execute its commitments before the US carries out its own obligations.

In addition, international banks must verify who they would be dealing with in Iran to avoid interacting with sanctioned entities, which Khezrian said would lead to heavy fines for any bank violating this part of the agreement.

He also criticized the fact that US ‘foreign terrorist’ designation will remain in place against the Revolutionary Guard, IRGC, and this would impact other areas of business and trade.

Iran had been insisting on removing the IRGC from the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), but US President Joe Biden opposed such a move.

Iran’s argument was that since the IRGC runs large business conglomerates in the country, its continued FTO designation would have ripple effects in Iran’s economy and its ability to have trade and other economic ties with foreign entities.

Kayhan’s editor Shariatmadari in his interview summed up the position of many hardliners. “The ups and downs of negotiations in the past 20 years leave no doubt that if we do not pay ransom – which the current government would not – the talks will go nowhere…and we reach the conclusion that we have to withdraw from the NPT.”

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