FM's Explanations Allay MP's Concerns

FM's Explanations Allay MP's Concerns  FM's Explanations Allay MP's Concerns

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appeared before parliament on Tuesday and responded to a series of questions posed by MPs on various subjects, including the nuclear negotiating team's approach toward the talks with the major powers and the meetings between Iranian and US diplomats on the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations.  

The session for questioning Zarif had been postponed two times last year.

Javad Karimi Qoddousi raised the questions on behalf 40 other parliamentarians who had signed a motion to question Zarif.

In their questions, lawmakers asked to know the reason behind repeated meetings between Iranian and American diplomats as part of the nuclear negotiations. MPs criticized the negotiators and the foreign ministry for adopting a secretive approach toward the negotiations.  

In addition, they contended that the current administration is seeking to take advantage of the nuclear talks to gain future election victories.  The questioning MPs also accused the negotiating team of yielding to western pressure by agreeing to scale down Iran's nuclear activities despite the fact that anti-Iran sanctions are still in place.

Lawmakers even claimed that the Geneva agreement, which was signed between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) in November 2013, practically ignored the "nuclear rights" of the Iranian nation and was a step which seriously threatens Tehran's nuclear program in the long term.

Conservative MPs in parliament even went so far as criticizing President Hassan Rouhani's latest comments about holding referendum on major economic plans when Deputy Parliament Speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar, who chaired the Majlis session, interfered and asked Qoddousi "to stick to the point."  

MPs had earlier posed the same questions to Zarif in a meeting of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee. Nevertheless, lawmakers had not been convinced by Zarif's responses.

  Unforgiveable Sin

Zarif reassured the parliamentarians that the administration and the nuclear negotiating team "have not and do not seek any factional and political objectives" in the ongoing nuclear talks as such a policy would be "an unforgivable sin."

He also said "the smart negotiating tactics" employed by the Iranian delegation have defused plans by "Zionist lobbies and hardline American politicians seeking to bring Iran's oil exports to a complete halt."

"Among our achievements in the negotiations was the return of parts of the nation's assets which were frozen unjustly by the enemies," the foreign minister noted.

He stressed that no wise person would now talk about having all options – including war – on the table against Iran, adding that, rather the world is now focusing on the speed and sequence of removing sanctions.

"Today the foundation of sanctions against Iran is weakened to a great extent and major powers as well as major economies want to do business with Iran," the top diplomat commented.

"Our policy during nuclear talks is to emphasize that sanctions are illegal and today our negotiating partners as well as other world political players have realized that in order to strike a deal with the great Iranian nation they must lift all cruel sanctions…."

Zarif added, "Today nobody talks about enrichment outside Iran, and the only question is the extent of enrichment because today we are moving toward enrichment at an industrial scale and this is a fact about which nobody has the slightest doubt."

Today nobody talks about the suspension of uranium enrichment or the closure of Fordo or Arak nuclear facilities rather "our capable experts in expert-level nuclear talks with the P5+1 are discussing detailed technical issues as well as the details of the operation of Iran's nuclear facilities."

After Zarif's remarks, the majority of the lawmakers who were present at the session voted yes to a question raised by Bahonar as to whether the foreign minister's explanations were satisfactory.