Iran, not Biden, will set the tone for nuclear-related issues: MP

December 1, 2020 - 18:26

TEHRAN — An Iranian legislator said on Tuesday it will be Iran, not U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who will be able to set the tone for the nuclear-related issues.

Seyyed Ali Mousavi made the remarks after the Iranian parliament overwhelmingly voted for a draft bill, called “Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions”, to give leverage to Iran’s diplomatic apparatus to remove the anti-Iran sanction.
 
“The Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions is a very productive plan, and its approval in the Majlis (Parliament) was a slap in the face of the enemies of the Islamic Republic,” Mousavi said in an interview with the Tehran Times.

Iran’s Parliament on Tuesday passed the outlines of the strategic action plan, which aims to counteract sanctions imposed on the Iranian nation and safeguard its interests.

The plan, if adopted, will require the administration to suspend more commitments under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. It will require the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to produce at least 120 kg of 20-percent enriched uranium annually and store it inside the country within two months after the adoption of the law.

Mousavi, who represents the Malekan constituency, said the plan is composed of very good clauses, which will strengthen Iran’s position when dealing with the enemy.

“The enemy won’t be able to sense any weakness from our side,” he said, emphasizing that the plan will revive the Islamic Republic’s “great nuclear industry.”

Mousavi, who criticized certain shortcomings of the strategic plan during the Tuesday session of the Parliament, told the Tehran Times that he is in favor of the outlines of the plan.

Speaking at the Parliament, he said he supported the plan but it needed to be referred to the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee so that further items be added to it to make it more decisive.

“We must deliver a hard slap on the enemy’s face but this plan is not capable of this matter and it must become stronger,” he added.

During the interview, the MP said the issue he raised about the plan during the parliament’s session was related to the implementation of the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the safeguards as well as the issue of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“One of the weaknesses is that the Agency’s inspectors come to Iran posing as inspectors but they are in fact spies of the CIA and Israel’s Mossad,” he stated.

“We must not hand them the list of our nuclear scientists, whose names they will leak and then assassinate our dear martyrs, including Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was a prominent nuclear scientist,” he added.

Fakhrizadeh, the head of the Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, was assassinated in Absard city of Tehran Province’s Damavand County on Friday.

Photos and footage shared online of the attack showed bullet holes on the windshield of Fakhrizadeh’s car and a pool of blood on the road.

Iran has blamed Israel for the assassination and vowed to respond firmly at the right time.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had mentioned Fakhrizadeh in a 2018 presentation on the alleged atomic archive of Iran that Israel claims it stole from a warehouse in southern Tehran.

Netanyahu said at the time that he identified Fakhrizadeh as the head scientist in Iran’s nuclear program, and asked people to “remember that name”.

“As I said at the Majlis, a few years ago, Netanyahu had mentioned the name of our martyr,” Mousavi said. “We should have been more vigilant and we shouldn’t have let individuals like Dr. Fakhrizadeh be martyred by the enemy.”

He reiterated that the parliamentary bill is a source of strength for the Islamic Republic. With the plan, he continued, “we sent a message of strength to the enemy.”

The nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, and also the European Union. However, U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018. The move was deplored by all other parties to the deal.

In the meantime, hopes to revitalize the nuclear deal were raised after Biden was elected president. Biden has promised to “change course” and rejoin the accord “as a starting point for follow-on negotiations” if Iran returns to compliance with it.

On May 8, 2019, exactly one year after Trump’s withdrawal, Iran began to gradually reduce its nuclear commitments according to the JCPOA, citing the other parties’ failure to secure its interests under the deal. However, Tehran has repeatedly said that it will return to its commitments if the other parties can protect its interests against the United States’ “toughest ever” sanctions.

Mousavi said while Iran fulfilled its obligations under the JCPOA, the other side failed to meet its end of the bargain.

“But today, we want to restore our great nuclear industry and we want to revive it,” he said, explaining that the issue of enrichment of uranium at 20% and beyond will be actively pursued by Iran.

“God willing, I hope the plan’s shortcomings, if there are any, will be remedied in the next sessions of the Majlis,” he said, adding, “My sense is that the plan is a very decisive and firm plan against the enemies of the Revolution at this juncture.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Tuesday that the Rouhani administration has voiced its opposition to the plan.

“We have no doubt that the members of the Majlis are pursuing the rights of the nation,” Khatibzadeh said during a virtual press conference. “But the administration has expressed its views on this plan and has stressed that it does not agree with the plan.”

He said the Rouhani administration’s stance is that the plan is not “necessary” and “useful”, and it is not clear that the rights of the Iranian people will be protected through the move.

“Unfortunately, our views have not been reflected and the Majlis has taken a different path. We hope that the expert opinions of the Foreign Ministry will be taken into account,” the spokesman added.

Asked to offer his take on Khatibzadeh’s remarks, Mousavi reiterated that the plan is intended to reinforce the Islamic Republic and its position with regard to nuclear-related issues.

“We believe that the plan is somehow in support of the Foreign Ministry,” the lawmaker said. “With this plan, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will have leverage. He can strongly stand up to the enemy.”

“Also, they won’t be able to set the terms and conditions for us anymore. Instead, it will be us, meaning the entirety of the Islamic Republic, who will set the terms and conditions,” he remarked.

“Today, we must prove to them that we are not passive and weak, but we are powerful,” Mousavi added.

MH/PA

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