Monday, September 26, 2022

What Zarif told MPs in a closed-door meeting of parliament

Following marathon nuclear talks in Vienna, the Iranian foreign minister has attended a parliamentary session in camera to brief MPs on what went on in the talks in the Austrian capital.

Mehr News Agency posted a report on November 29 about the remarks of a number of parliamentarians after Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appeared on parliament floor to brief MPs on the most recent round of nuclear talks in Vienna. The following is a partial translation of the piece:

“A majority of questions posed to the foreign minister by MPs revolved around what the Islamic Republic of Iran offered to the West and what it got in return in Vienna,” said Vahid Ahmadi, a member of parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.

“In response to expressions of concern about concessions, Mr. Zarif underlined what he and his fellow negotiators did was in line with the Interim Geneva Agreement,” he added.

Another member of the committee who spoke with the agency on condition of anonymity stated, “During the briefing, Zarif explicitly said that if the other party to nuclear talks did not keep its side of the bargain, Iran would resume 20-percent uranium enrichment.”

“The foreign minister said that Iran will honor its commitments step by step in tandem with fulfillment of the commitments by the West,” the MP added.

He pointed out, “Parliament Vice-Speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar, who presided over the hearing, told Zarif that parliament will only approve a good deal and on no account will it give the go-ahead to a bad agreement. A good deal should entail the lifting of all sanctions.”

Hassan Sobhaninia, an MP representing Neishabur and a member of the chamber’s Presiding Board said, “The foreign minister briefed MPs for 45 minutes on the disagreement between Iran and the West over Fordow, Arak heavy water plant, the number of centrifuges and the timetable for removal of sanctions.”

“The Islamic Consultative Assembly has lent support to the process of nuclear talks and if Iran’s negotiating team does not cross the red lines and resists the excessive demands of the West, parliament will continue to support the process,” concluded Sobhaninia.

An MP on parliament’s Cultural Committee who did not want his name to be revealed said, “At this briefing, Zarif did not offer any explanation beyond what the media have reported; he only said that no deal has been cut with the West over the number of centrifuges or nuclear facilities in Arak and Fordow.”

“In line with the Supreme Leader’s support for the talks and Iran’s negotiating team, we approve the process of negotiations. We are mostly concerned about likely mischief on the part of the West,” the parliamentarian stated.

“I am not optimistic about nuclear talks and believe that over the past year, Iran has gained little from the negotiations,” he concluded.

“Zarif was of the opinion that over the time left, the prospects of reaching a comprehensive agreement are as strong as the likelihood of failure to strike a deal. That a deal is cut or not depends on how committed both sides stay to what has been agreed, said an MP with a seat on parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

“At this briefing the measures taken by Iran’s negotiating team were elaborated on and MPs appreciated the efforts of the negotiating team by warmly seeing off the foreign minister after the hearing,” the representative concluded.

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