Iranian Hardliners Push Back Against Adoption of Nuclear Deal
Iranian leaders continued to push back against the country’s full ratification of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, just days after the Majlis (the country’s parliament) passed a resolution approving it, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported on Sunday.
While the Guardian Council — the legal body that assesses the constitutionality of Iranian legislation — approved the parliament’s decision to adopt the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, its secretary-general, Ayatollah Jannati, noted last week during his Friday sermon that the deal is not effective yet, because Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has yet to sign off on it.
“Majlis approval regarding the nuclear agreement is not [approval of] its execution. The nuclear agreement was discussed in the Supreme National Security Council and council members expressed their opinion about it and gave their approval regarding its execution. But Leader [Khamenei] still has not signed it,” said Jannati.
According to Reuters, Khamenei’s position on the JCPOA remains unknown, but a Twitter account under his name and widely believed to represent the supreme leader posted a message on Friday calling negotiations with the U.S. — one of six world powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran — absolutely forbidden.
“For America negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran means penetration. This is their definition of negotiation and they want to open the way for imposition. Negotiation with America is forbidden, because of its countless detriments and because of alleged advantages of which it has none whatsoever,” wrote the Khamenei Twitter handle.
Guardian Council spokesman Nejatollah Ebrahimian said the council did not approve the JCPOA itself, but rather the Majlis plan for allowing its implementation, MEMRI reported.
“The [Guardian] Council did not approve the JCPOA, but rather the Majlis plan on the JCPOA. This means that neither the Majlis nor the Guardian Council have approved the content of JCPOA [itself] – which constitutes neither opposition nor agreement to the content [of the JCPOA]. The JCPOA remains a political document, not a legal one,” said Ebrahimian.
Meanwhile, the White House released a statement on Sunday, saying Iran was ready to start implementing its initial commitments regarding the JCPOA.
“Today, Iran begins to take the steps necessary to implement its JCPOA commitments, including removing thousands of centrifuges and associated infrastructure, reducing its enriched uranium stockpile from approximately 12,000 kilograms to 300 kilograms, and removing the core of the Arak heavy-water reactor and filling it with concrete so that it cannot be used again, among other steps,” the statement read.
Additionally, the White House said it was directing executive agencies and departments to start preparations for providing sanctions relief to Iran, according to U.S. commitments in the nuclear deal.
The landmark nuclear deal, announced in Vienna in July following years of negotiations, promises Iran sanctions relief in exchange for wide-scale monitoring of and restrictions against the country’s nuclear program.