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A Vanquishing Battle between Rouhani’s and Ahmadinejad’s Nuclear Teams in Parliament

Even though the anti-JCPOA republicans failed in the Senate, the commission the Iranian parliament appointed to studying the JCPOA continues what it started. Yet unlike the non-stop coverage American media provided of the Congress debates, live or other, the IRIB delivered a delayed report with scenes occasionally trimmed. However, even such a procedure could not stop the commission from sinking into side issues and appearing attractive to the audiences.

Last week, the way Abbas Araghchi, the Deputy FM and a senior nuclear negotiator, was confronted in the commission was so surprisingly controversial that it ended with provoking the negotiator to react.

At a different point, the commission invited Ahmadinejad’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili and the then AEOI chief, Fereydoun Abbasi which added much to the wrangling. In his words, Saeed Jalili concluded that the JCPOA bears no special fruit for Iran and Iran has overlooked over 100 absolute rights it should have preserved. He also claimed in the recent agreement, the regime is obviously belittled and Iran has given in to abnormal terms. Jalili also went on to say Zarif’s team took the wheel while the other side was already in favor of lifting the sanctions and recognizing Iran’s right of enrichment.

The chief of the analysts’ team in the nuclear talks, Hamid Baeidinejad reacted to the claims of Ahmadinejad’s chief negotiator and rejected his words about the other side consenting to call off sanctions and give Iran the right to enrich uranium prior to the 2013 Presidential election underlining, “In past rounds, the two sides had not even managed to achieve a pre-negotiation phase, let alone full negotiation now.”

Saeed Jalili claimed the nuclear talks were coming to fruition, whereas the former US nuclear negotiator, Robert J. Einhorn told an Iranian magazine that in most of the times Saeed Jalili was talking, they learned a great deal about Iran’s history and his priorities, but much less progress was made in the real subject. But that did not end the story and will probably not be. The JCPOA commission talks have become opportunities for confrontations and disclosures of the untold yet. Recently, the AEOI chief now and Ahmadinejad’s FM, Ali Akbar Salehi took part in the discussions of the commission to answer a series of related questions, although most of his time was spent on replying to Jalili and Abbasi’s claims. Salehi rejected Jalili’s statement about what Iran earned in the Vienna agreement is not sufficient and underscored, “The ideal scenario would be that we had 20% enrichment right with Arak’s heavy water being there, and they would have apologized to us and lifted the sanctions!”

In response to Jalili’s claim on having won the enrichment right in his times, Salehi said, “If it was so, you would have signed the document and finished up the whole thing.” He further pointed to the assumption that “One day, someone may be brave enough to restore the Arak reactor to its original state and take his family to go live there! Then what? Is that bravery? They want to endanger the lives of 80 million people just to prove to others that they are brave! Safety in nuclear programs differ from that in car manufacturing!”

On Jalili’s statement about the other side having recognized Iran’s right of enrichment earlier, Salehi clarified, “They did not come to terms with Iran’s enrichment right in Almaty or Istanbul, at all. There is no document to certify that claim. If they believe P5+1 had consented to Iran’s right of enrichment, then please give us the documents. The only thing P5+1 mentioned was to recognize the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programs, which was conditional.”

The discussions proceeded and criticisms against the performance of the JCPOA commission heated up, and a Reformist lawmaker, Masoud Pezeshkian added to them saying, “A number of the members are putting their personal preferences and tastes before justice and fairness and that contradicts the impartial manner we sought. A number of my colleagues asked Mr. Salehi a few questions which they didn’t allow him to respond to, whereas when Mr. Jalili was present, he was the only one who spoke and they all listened to and approved of him. My understanding is that many have already concluded about the ongoing discussion and these sessions are aimed at collecting the needed data for a final vote.”

Stressing Jalili’s statement about the JCPOA overlooking 100 rights of Iran, Pezeshkian added, “We only pursued two rights which we obtained. First an international warrant for our nuclear activities, and second keeping the heavy water which is preserved.”

As days pass by, with the Iranian FM, Mohammad Javad Zarif and the Minister of Defense, more hectic days are predicted to be witnessed, for the parliamentary election is arriving any days now, and the perusal of the JCPOA has become a heated topic and every party is trying to score a ball in that area to its own advantage. The Conservatives do not like the deal to become implemented and see it a threat to the regime and Rouhani’s proponents want to step closer to the West once it is executed in full.

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