- Speaker of Parliament: MPs Won’t Block Nuclear Deal Backed by Supreme Leader
- Another Blow for Former President Rafsanjani: Son Given 15-Year Prison Sentence
Amid talks with the US in Switzerland, a senior Iranian nuclear negotiator has said that the US will lose out to “European rivals” in Iran’s economic boom after a deal and lifting of US-led sanctions.
No news came out of Sunday’s meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry. Sanctions, which have crippled Iran’s economy, are the most significant issue blocking a resolution by a formal deadline of July 1 and an informal deadline of March 31 set by the Americans.
Instead, Majid Takht-Ravanchi issued a proclamation that foreign investment will return to the Islamic Republic after an agreement:
However, it is only the Americans that will be left out of the Iranian market due to the sanctions that they have imposed in the past.
We believe that this is their own problem and we have no inclination that they change their laws. The fact of the matter is that they cannot enter the Iranian market due to the laws that they, themselves, have devised.
Takht-Ravanchi repeated that all sanctions must be lifted quickly for a deal to be reached:
Iran faces different forms of sanctions and have already communicated to the 5+1 Powers [US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia] that all sanctions should be lifted. We believe that all those sanctions – including those imposed through [President Obama’s] executive orders and those devised by the Congress – should be lifted.
Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif is scheduled to travel to Brussels on Monday to meet British, German, and French counterparts.
First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said on Sunday that a settlement is likely if pressure from “Zionists”, Arab States, and US hardliners is resisted:
At present, settlement of issues needs political will. There are still differences over the method of removing the sanctions.
We think that if the Americans refrain from being influenced and pressured by the Zionists, certain countries, and radicals, all grounds will be prepared for a comprehensive and complete agreement and we have almost arrived at that point….
At present, we think that we have reached very good points in the negotiations, and we can say we have attained good agreements in most, if not all, technical areas.
Speaker of Parliament: MPs Won’t Block Nuclear Deal Backed by Supreme Leader
Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani said on Monday that MPs will support any nuclear agreement endorsed by the Supreme Leader.
“Parliament and the government are following the same path,” Larijani told reporters. “We don’t have problems like those in the United States.”
On Monday, 260 of Iran’s 290 MPs issued a statement setting the preconditions of an immediate removal of all sanctions and the closing of the nuclear issue at the UN Security Council for a comprehensive agreement with the 5+1 Powers.
Larijani said that ultimate authority rested with Ayatollah Khamenei: “We are together and there is coordination and consultation between government and the parliament…and all are under the supervision of the Leader.”
Another Blow for Former President Rafsanjani: Son Given 15-Year Prison Sentence
Less than a week after his attempt to head the Assembly of Experts was rebuffed, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has been dealt another blow by his opponents with a lengthy prison sentence for his son.
Iran Prosecutor General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei reportedly said that Hashemi’s sentence was related to “national security matters” as well as fraud and embezzlement. He said he would not give details — including the length — until an appeals process was concluded.
Hashemi has 20 days to challenge the sentence.
Hashemi left Iran for Britain soon after Iran’s disputed presidential election in 2009 and his father’s support of the right to mass protest. He was soon accused of financial crimes and electoral interference.
Hashemi finally returned to Tehran in September 2012. He was bailed three months later while proceedings — and pressure on his father — continued.
After years of eclipse after the disputes of 2009, Rafsanjani has enjoyed a political resurgence with the election of his protégé Hassan Rouhani as President. However, hardliners have continued to accuse him of “sedition” while blocking the Rouhani Government’s political and cultural initiatives.
Last Tuesday, Rafsanjani suffered a heavy defeat when he lost the election to head the Assembly of Experts, which names the Supreme Leader and has the nominal power to remove him.