Tehran, Iran – Hard-line Iranian lawmakers say a recent deal between the government and the UN nuclear watchdog is “illegal” and that the president should be punished for it.
In a public vote Monday, an overwhelming majority of lawmakers voted to send a report from the Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy on the deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the judiciary for consideration.
The report claims that the agreement reached Sunday between the IAEA and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) constitutes a “clear violation” of a law passed by parliament in December.
According to the law, the government of President Hassan Rouhani must stop the voluntary implementation of the additional protocol, which gives wide powers to IAEA inspectors, from Tuesday.
In a statement, the AEOI said implementation of the additional protocol will be completely halted from Tuesday, according to the law, and that no access will be given to the UN nuclear watchdog beyond those set out in a main safeguards agreement aimed at guaranteeing nuclear power. non-proliferation.
However, critics said the deal reached after IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi visited Tehran violated the December law, in that Iran would unilaterally record surveillance data to which inspectors nuclear surveillance would normally have access under the Additional Protocol, but would not share the data.
The deal will remain in place for three months, after which the data will be destroyed if all US sanctions, imposed on Iran since 2018 following the unilateral withdrawal of former President Donald Trump from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with the world powers, are not lifted. .
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the talks “had resulted in a very significant diplomatic achievement and a very significant technical achievement … within the framework of the binding law of parliament”.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council also said in a statement Monday that the IAEA deal was in accordance with the law of Parliament.
“The president on his way to court!”
But angry parliamentarians had a different point of view.
Instead of their scheduled work on the annual budget bill that had been delayed for months due to a dispute with the government, they held a closed-door meeting to review the agreement with the IAEA and drafted a motion to involve the judiciary.
Several lawmakers gave fiery speeches condemning the deal in a public session held afterwards.
Among them was the speaker of parliament Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf – a bitter political enemy of the president who also ran unsuccessfully against him in the 2017 presidential election and is seen as a potential candidate in the upcoming June elections.
Ghalibaf said parliament would settle for nothing less than what it perceives to be full implementation of the law it approved.
The parliament motion also directly called on Rouhani to be legally punished.
“The aforementioned law recognizes Mr. President as the person responsible for implementing it,” the motion said, calling on Rouhani and all others who the parliament says violated the law to be handed over to the judiciary.
“The president on the way to court!” Tehran representative Mojtaba Rezakhah wrote on Twitter shortly after the motion was passed.
Another lawmaker, Nazammudin Mousavi, said on Twitter that parliament had sent a “decisive message” with the motion: that no one will be allowed to “circumvent the law”.
Members of the Assembly of Experts, which has the power to appoint or remove the supreme leader, said in a statement Monday that a return of the United States to the nuclear deal without the “effective” lifting of sanctions would be. harmful and not beneficial.
“Global arrogance must know that the return or failure of the United States to return to the JCPOA will have no effect on the resistance of the honorable people of Iran,” they said, using the official name of the agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“We view renegotiations with the United States on previously agreed-upon issues as a red line for establishment and view our defense and missile issues as non-negotiable.”
Assembly members will meet with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei later Monday.