Top MP appeared unaware of letter on Russia-annexed Crimea  

November 6, 2016 - 21:47

TEHRAN – First Deputy Parliament Speaker Masoud Pezeshkian appeared unaware of a Russian lawmaker’s request to the Iranian parliament to recognize Crimea’s annexation to Russia.  

According to Russian outlets, Evgeny Fedorov, Russian Duma Deputy, had written a letter to the Iranian parliament, urging Iran to become the seventh country to recognize the annexation of Crimea to Russia.
“I haven’t seen such letter,” Pezeshkian told the Tehran Times on Sunday as he visited the press exhibition in Tehran. 
The Ukrainian territory of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation on March, 18, 2014. 
The Russian lawmaker had cited growing cooperation between Iran and Russia to back his request. 
At no point of time have relations between Tehran and Moscow been so close. More than anything else, this political proximity has been strengthened by Russia’s role in the nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers and close cooperation between the two on the Syrian battlefield. 
However, Pezeshkian did not categorically reject the letter-writing, saying, “They may have sent the letter to somewhere else, and so I neither reject nor confirm.” 
“Put the question to the Supreme National Security Council,” he added. 

‘No motion on capital punishment’

Pezeshkian also reacted to another news by Iranian news outlets which had quoted Hassan Norouzi, spokesman of the Parliament’s Legal and Judicial Committee, as saying a motion signed by 76 legislators would be brought to the Majlis in an effort to rethink capital punishment for drug smugglers. 
The motion, if passed, will rule out the capital punishment for first-time drug smugglers, many of whom juveniles. 
“I don’t know,” Pezeshkian said. 
The news came days before Iran and the EU will sit together in Brussels on November 9 for the first time since the conclusion of the nuclear deal to exchange ideas on human rights, one major sticking point in bilateral ties.