New Iranian Bill Could Undermine Nuclear Deal

June 17, 2015  

Iranian lawmakers have unveiled proposed legislation that a top official said would “protect the nation’s nuclear interests” but which could become an obstacle in negotiations for a deal, AFP reported Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by the chairman of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, was signed by 225 of the country’s 290 MPs and faces a vote on Sunday, according to the news agency.

“At the moment, the negotiating team is facing excessive demands from the United States,” said chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi.

“This bill is being introduced with the aim of supporting the negotiators… and to protect the red lines drawn up by the supreme leader,” he added.

The bill, according to AFP, sets out three criteria that must be met by any deal reached with the United States and five other world powers, which faces a June 30 deadline.

First is the “complete and unified lifting on the day of agreement of all sanctions imposed through the UN Security Council, the U.S. Congress and the European Union,” it states.

That condition does not specify if it means the day a deal is struck, signed or implemented.

Secondly, the bill says that although the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be authorized to conduct “conventional supervision” of Iran’s nuclear sites “access to all documents, scientists and military/security sites… is forbidden under any pretext.”

Thirdly, the bill states, “No limit will be accepted on Iran acquiring peaceful nuclear knowledge and technology and the materials required for research and development.”

The bill was announced a day after one of Iran’s top negotiators, Abbas Araqchi, hinted that the talks, about to resume at deputy foreign minister level in Vienna, could go beyond the end of June.

“The date… was selected for the end of negotiations but we will not sacrifice a good agreement for the sake of the schedule,” he was quoted as saying by Iranian state television.

If the bill passes parliament, it would not be the first time that Iranian lawmakers have attempted to use legislation to thwart a deal with the West.

In March, an overwhelming majority of 260 out of 290 Iranian parliament members passed a proposal designed to strengthen the regime’s policy regarding the nuclear talks with world powers.

The proposal’s three clauses included a demand for a removal of all sanctions against Iran, a call for a preservation of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and rights to develop nuclear power, and a restarting of Iran’s uranium enrichment if any of the obligations of the nuclear deal are breached.

Iranian officials have continuously accused the West of imposing excessive demands on the Islamic Republic and have warned the six powers against doing so.

Hardliners in Iran have also criticized President Hassan Rouhani for supporting a deal with the West. Rouhani has fired back, most recently accusing his critics of belittling the impact of sanctions.

He has also referred to the critics as “political cowards” and has advised them to “go to hell”.

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