Following the nuclear deal with P5+1, President Hassan Rouhani made huge endeavor to bar the parliament from interfering with the JCPOA by analyzing it on the level of the Supreme National Security Council. His efforts went as far as he made a remark during a press conference, “What is now being exercised is in fact verifying what Iran accepted long ago. Some of you insist that you already accepted the NPT content before. But have you ever questioned if you had done it right? Every word we uttered in the talks was aimed at proving that those allegations and claims about misdoing the NPT content are nothing but misconception and to ensure our negotiating parties about the peaceful nature of our nuclear activities. So you see that everyone was arguing to make sure of what the former parliamentarians passed and turned into must-do laws, which was not essential, at all.” Rouhani further underlined, “Read what is inside of the JCPOA. It simply says that Iran is to realize the content voluntarily. Moreover, you see that none of the P5+1 countries have sent the agreement to their parliaments, and neither should we. To send it to the Parliament means that what has not been signed by the President and the FM up to this day should be signed now and then approved in the cabinet. That is regular imposition of obligation on us, and no country has done so. In other countries, neither does the President or the FM sign nor their cabinet approve of such bill. Why are we persisting in putting legal pressures on the Iranian nation while not necessary? This is the pressure we never need. The Article 125 obviously states what the President or his delegation is to sign. Basically, the JCPOA was penned in a way that the governments come in agreement with each other and then send the deal to the UN Security Council to pass.”
This, however, was not the first time that the JCPOA’s not being verified by the parliament discussed and on August 11, 2015, the Deputy FM, Abbas Araghchi mentioned the nuclear deal with P5+1, namely the JCPOA, need be passed as a bill by the parliament. A senior, top-level nuclear negotiator, Araghchi continued, “Although, in accordance with the Article 77, every international agreement and contract should be passed by the parliament, the JCPOA is a joint plan of action which is being implemented by the two parties voluntarily.” Araghchi further said that some think that legally, the JCPOA is to receive green lights from the parliament and some other believe otherwise. He also stressed that to inspect the deal through a political pair of glasses differs from that through a legal one and added, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is on the belief that for the purpose of preserving the national interests, it is safer if the parliament leaves the passing behind, for none of the P5+1 countries are having the deal passed by their parliaments.”
The trend of objections soared as high as the government’s Spokesman, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht stated at a press conference, “As what the MPs’ sought as conditions including reserving national interests and nuclear achievements have remained intact in the deal, then putting the JCPOA forward to the parliament is extra work and it only needs to be passed by the Supreme Security Council.” Later, the AEOI Chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, too, announced that the parliament’s work to investigate the deal is unnecessary.
Afterwards, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, at a meeting with the parliamentarians, clearly stated that it is of no prudence to leave the Parliament out of the decision making process regarding the JCPOA clarifying, “In terms of legal dimensions and what may come after, the related experts are in charge of issuing their comments. But in a general manner of speaking, I have told the president that it is not in our interest to not let our lawmakers review the deal, Parliament should not be sidelined on the nuclear deal issue … I am not saying lawmakers should ratify or reject the deal. It is up to them to decide.”
Therefore with the Supreme Leader voting to the analysis of the JCPOA by the Parliament, the President and his fellow ministers are to stop justifying their lack of interest in sending the agreement to lawmakers. Not recognizing the rank of the parliament and holding it back in international equations must not become a routine for administrations to follow up. It should not be as neglected as the volition for excluding decision-making processes becomes so easy to win. It cannot be ignored that given the new card the parliament is playing, President Rouhani will indubitably pen another scenario to resume the race.
Rouhani well knows that any change in the content of the JCPOA by the Iranian parliament can shoot every ongoing equation and the deal itself under an enormous question mark. That is why he must use his power in the parliament to devise a mechanism to keep the jurisdiction of the parliamentary vote within the limitation of a positive or negative comment, and to do so, the role of the senior lawmaker, the Speaker of Iran’s Parliament, Ali Larijani becomes much more highlighted than before.
Iran awaits the parliamentary election in just a few months and Ali Larijani has managed thus far to provide satisfactory support for the government, meaning his successful role in putting the JCPOA into play can gain the full support of the government and brings him the next chairmanship of the parliament. Not only that, but he can also revive the nuclear path in a beneficial way in favor of the government and decrease the level of interference the parliament can have, which is to be waited for a few more weeks.