Majlis Calls for Gov’t Action on ISA Renewal

The lawmakers have called on the government to restore pre-deal levels of nuclear activity and take measures necessary to boost defense capabilities
A general view of the Majlis A general view of the Majlis

Iran's Parliament has urged the government to act on a 2015 Majlis bill in response to a US Congress measure that only awaits an expected presidential approval to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act for another decade.  

The call came in a statement read out in the parliament's Sunday session, IRNA reported.

The US Congress has voted almost unanimously to pass the ISA extension.

ISA has been in effect since 1996 and will expire on Dec. 31, if not renewed.

Iran reached an agreement with the United States and five other powers in July 2015, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to get sanctions relief in return for temporary curbs on its nuclear program.

In their statement, lawmakers singled out clauses 3 and 7 of the nine-clause legislation titled "The Iranian Government's Reciprocal Action on Implementation of JCPOA", which stipulate the response expected of the government against the Congress move.

Those clauses oblige the government to stop cooperation on the deal in the event of any breach by the other side and move to restore pre-deal levels of nuclear activity and requires it, along with the armed forces, to take measures for boosting defense capabilities and defending allies of the Islamic Republic against the threats of terrorists.

Republican US president-elect, Donald Trump, had criticized the pact during his election campaign for the White House. 

Other members of his party, who control the Congress, unanimously oppose the historic agreement and have introduced numerous measures to interfere with its implementation. 

US State Department Spokesman John Kirby said on Friday that President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law, but noted that Secretary of State John Kerry would ensure that the reauthorized ISA only involves non-nuclear sanctions.

The UN-endorsed JCPOA says, "The US administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the president and the congress, will refrain from reintroducing or reimposing the sanctions … it has ceased applying under this JCPOA. Iran has stated that it will treat such a reintroduction or reimposition of the sanctions … or such an imposition of new nuclear-related sanctions, as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA in whole or in part."

***Clear Breach 

Iranian statesmen have railed against the ISA renewal, with Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei warning late last month that should the bill be passed into law and implemented, Iran will treat it as a breach of the deal and would retaliate.

"The current US administration … has so far committed numerous infringements in relation to the nuclear agreement," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

"If the extension is enforced, it would constitute a violation of the JCPOA, and they should know that it would definitely prompt a response by the Islamic Republic."

President Hassan Rouhani echoed the Leader's view, describing the Congress bill as a "clear" breach of the deal and calling on his US counterpart to use his executive power to block it.

"The US president is bound to use his authority to prevent its enforcement," he told the Majlis session.

"The implementation of the legislation would be a clear violation of the action plan and result in our firm response. Even its signing by the US president would be viewed as a breach of the US commitments and would face a proper response."

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said the extension of anti-Iran sanctions, while further tarnishing the image of the US government as an unreliable partner, will not negatively affect the Islamic Republic.

"To the world community, the extension of sanctions against Iran shows the unreliability of the American government," he said.

"What was done at the Senate, even if it is signed by the US president, has no executive effect and from the standpoint of the international community, it shows the lack of credibility of the US government, which acts against its own commitments."

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