LATEST: Iran Steps Back from January 20 Start for Implementation of Nuclear Deal


Week Past, Week Ahead: Iran — The Regime Boxes in Rouhani Over “Sedition”

Iran’s authorities have continued their crackdown on MP Ali Motahari, following his remarks calling for the review of cases of political prisoners.

Motahari’s website was blocked, as the Tehran Prosecutor announced on Saturday that it has summoned Motahari over his statements.

In Parliament last week, Motahari criticized the judiciary for its failure to review the sentences given to politicians, lawyers, journalists, students, and activists arrested after disputed 2009 Presidential election.

Motahari also questioned the independence of the judiciary.

The Tehran Prosecutor said Motahari had been summoned for “insulting” the judicial system and judges.

Motahari has dismissed the threat of legal action, saying MPs have immunity for their statements on the floor of the Majlis.

Iran Steps Back from January 20 Start for Implementation of Nuclear Deal

Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, has pulled back from the announcement of a January 20 start date for implementation of the six-month interim nuclear deal.

Araqchi said the date is contingent upon reaching a “common understanding” on outstanding issues.

“If we can reach a consensus on these issues by the end of this week, the [proposed] January 20 date may be agreed upon, but for the moment, we cannot confirm whether the date would be January 20 or later,” Araqchi said.

Last week, Iranian negotiators indicated that the date had been confirmed after technical talks with representatives of the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia).

Araqchi said he would be meeting this week with Helga Schmid, the deputy to lead 5+1 negotiator Catherine Ashton.

Iran Rejects US Proposal Over “Sidelines” Role in Syria Talks

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has rejected the suggestion of US Secretary of State John Kerry that it “could contribute from the sidelines” at a proposed international “peace” conference in Switzerland this month.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said, “In order to take part in the Geneva II conference, the Islamic Republic of Iran will not accept any proposal which does not respect its dignity.”

Afkham asserted, “From the outset of the Syrian crisis, the Islamic Republic of Iran has said that a political solution will be the only option to defuse tension in the country, and has always welcomed strategies that would safeguard the rights of the Syrian people through Syrian-Syrian dialogue.”

Top Aide to Billionaire Zanjani Arrested

The crackdown on billionaire Babak Zanjani, arrested in the autumn, has continued with the detention of his chief aide Hossein Shirazi Manesh.

Zanjani, seen as a key supporter of the Ahmadinejad Government, is being investigated for embezzlement and financial impropriety in connection with his work with the Social Security Fund.