The head of Iran’s technical team announced on Tuesday, after two days of talks with counterparts from the 5+1 Powers, that implementation of the interim nuclear deal will begin in late January.
However, a question mark over the declaration was put later in the day from Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator.
Araqchi said he would meet Helga Schmidt, the deputy of lead 5+1 negotiator Catherine Ashton, next week. He said that, as the experts submit the final report on their four sets of meetings, “there are certain issues yet left unsolved diplomatically”.
The experts, who come from the nuclear, banking, oil, and transport sectors, were discussing provisions such as Iran’s suspension of enrichment of 20% uranium and a start to the relief of US-led sanctions on Iran.
US officials appeared to back up Araqchi’s more cautious line.
“We’ve made progress in our discussions, and the teams have taken a few outstanding points back to capitals,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf announced. “The two sides expect to finalize the implementation plan soon.”
A senior administration official said, “We’re getting close but just not quite there yet.”
Prosecutor General Maintains Public Campaign Against “Sedition” of Protests in 2009
Iran Prosecutor General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei has maintained the campaign against the “sedition” of mass protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential election, saying that certain “parties were trying to wreck the public”.
Mohseni Ejei declared that “some of the traitors and enemies: were acting even before the election, which put Mahmoud Ahmadinejad back into the Presidency. He said, “Opponents of the regime will use any opportunity to strike Iran”, citing sanctions as a current example.
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, both candidates in 2009, have been under strict house arrest since February 2011. Scores of politicians, journalists, activists, lawyers, and students imprisoned after the election remain behind bars; others live under threat of a return to detention.
Parliament to Challenge Rouhani’s Control of Nuclear Negotiations?
Mohammad Ismail Kothari, a member of Parliament’s National Security Committee, has called has said “special supervisory group” with the heads of the three branches of Government — Parliament and the judiciary as well as the Presidency — will monitor and set the framework of nuclear negotiations.
“The advisory team would coordinate with the negotiating team on issues such as uranium enrichment and other relevant issues,” Kothari said.
Culture Minister Calls for Relaxation of Restrictions on Social Networking Sites
Culture Minister Ali Jannati has called for a relaxation of restrictions on access to social networking sites,
“[Officials] need to reconsider and not consider everything as criminal content.”
Jannati suggested movement the oversight of the Internet from prosecutors and the Committee for the Determination of Criminal Content to the Supreme Council of Cyber Space, headed by President Rouhani.
The minister specifically commented on the recent blocking of the popular network WeChat, suggesting that certain features of the site could be restricted — on grounds of privacy — instead of a full ban on access.