Former President Hassan Rouhani says Iran’s current nuclear negotiators unsuccessfully demanded compensation from the United States to claim an “achievement.”
The claim was made in an article published on Rouhani’s personal website Monday which also refuted that he had opposed seeking damages as a result of Donald Trump’s sanctions.
Rouhani’s hardliner opponents charged in March that the former president opposed demanding compensation from the US during talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Rouhani’s website alleged that the administration of President Ebrahim Raisi included the issue of compensation on the agenda of the talks in Vienna “as a new demand" or “possibly to claim [an extra] achievement for itself,” if it was accepted.
“The claim that Dr. Rouhani opposed seeking compensation from the US was made by the negotiating team’s media advisor [Mohammad Marandi] after the failure to include the topic in [the agenda of] talks or in the draft of the agreement,” the article said.
In late March in a video interview with London-based pro-regime activist Ali Alizadeh, Marandi claimed that Rouhani’s foreign minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif,
Iranian-American politician Mohammad Marandi
had suggested to Rouhani that Iran should seek compensation but Rouhani opposed the suggestion and Zarif was offended.
“I personally, and others, told Dr. Zarif that we must ask the US for compensation. This does not mean the US would [actually] pay compensation. You say you should pay compensation so that you can score points elsewhere. Zarif did that but Mr. Rouhani said in a cabinet meeting that this was not required,” Marandi said, adding that Zarif told him his hands were tied because Rouhani was opposed to it.
A few days later, the reformist Jamaran News claimed that a “former member of the negotiation team” has denied any discussion of the payment of compensation between Zarif and Marandi.
“The former member of the negotiation team said seeking compensation from the US for withdrawing from the JCPOA was a failed plan by the current team which they are trying to blame the previous administration for,” Jamaran wrote.
“We don’t currently intend to speak about the damages we have incurred. Authorities of the country will follow up on that at its appropriate time,” Rouhani’s website quoted him as saying at a cabinet meeting on March 24 2021.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi (left), Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (2nd left), former president Hassan Rouhani (3rd left), and former parliament speaker Ali Larijani
It also pointed out that this was “a repetition” of Khamenei’s own remarks in a speech on January 9, 2021 in which he said the United States’ return to the deal would only be meaningful if sanctions were lifted. “Albeit there is the issue of compensation which is among our demands and will be followed up in later stages,” Khamenei said in the same speech.
Rouhani’s website also quoted Zarif’s speech at the Mediterranean Dialogues Conference in July 2020 in which he mentioned the issue of compensation and again in February 2021 when he said in an interview with CNN’s Farid Zakaria that payment of compensation had never been a precondition for the talks but would be discussed after the restoration of the deal and the return of the US to it.
“The said stances prove that what Rouhani said in March 2021 corresponded to the stance of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution … Compensation meant seeking payment from the US for damages [incurred by Iran] following Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA. [It was] not a precondition for negotiations with the 5+1 (France, Britain, Russia, China, the United States and Germany) or a plan devised by the negotiating team,” Rouhani’s website wrote.