LATEST: Student Activist Majid Tavakoli Free After Almost 4 Years


Analysis: How Foreign Minister Zarif’s Back Pain May Have Changed Diplomacy…& “Being a Man”

SUMMARY: As Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi briefed Parliament on Sunday about last week’s talks with the US and other powers, Speaker Ali Larijani made clear that the Majlis would have to have a role in approving any settlement:

If the [Parliament] feels that the powerful sides are showing double standards and unjustifiable behavior, it will start ratifying some necessary regulations for the volume and variety of [Iran’s] nuclear activities.

Larijani continued,

Iran is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has accepted the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty]… international regulations for all countries on nuclear issues.

Special rules and regulations shouldn’t be devised for Iran.

Iran’s negotiators indicated during the talks with the 5+1 Powers in Geneva that, in the last stage of a phased agreement, Tehran might observe the Additional Protocols of the NPT, which allow for tighter inspections of nuclear facilities.

Parliamentary approval would be necessary for the Islamic Republic to formally accede to the Protocols. Between 2003 and 2006, the Majlis refused such approval, even though Iran observed the terms of the arrangements.

Student Activist Majid Tavakoli Free After Almost 4 Years

Majid Tavakoli, one of Iran’s leading student activists, has been freed on bail of 600 million Toman (about $200,000) after almost four years in prison.

Tavakoli was arrested on National Students Day in December 2009 after he made a speech at Amir Kabir University in Tehran calling for rights and justice. Officials tried to humiliate by photographing him wearing the women’s covering of hijab and chador.

Amid months spent in solitary confinement, Tavakoli was sentenced in 2010 to 8 1/2 years in prison.

Rouhani Government Emphasizes Lifting of Sanctions as Part of Nuclear Settlement

Both Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi and President Rouhani have stressed the removal of sanctions in an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Araqchi told Parliament on Sunday, “The defined goal is that we safeguard our nuclear rights; both [uranium] enrichment and production, and that the other side is assured that our use of nuclear energy is peaceful and, in return, the sanctions are totally lifted.”

Rouhani declared, “The administration’s diplomatic initiative in constructive interaction with the world…has both made the governments praise the democracy in Iran and halted the growing process of sanctions.”

The US has refrained from imposing further economic restrictions on Iran since it adopted four sets of additional sanctions in late May and early June, just before Rouhani’s election.