PHOTO: Iran’s Parliament, the Majlis


Iran’s acceptance of the July 14 nuclear deal moves a step closer on Sunday, but only at the cost of continued division in Parliament over the agreement.

The Majlis approved the outline of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by 139-100, with 12 abstentions. However, the fractious debate indicated more problems for the Rouhani Government when Parliament considers the detail.

One MP, Ruhollah Hosseinian, said that he would “bury in cement” the Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, who led the Islamic Republic’s technical discussions with the 5+1 Powers.

Three MPs charged the podium and tried to prevent Salehi from speaking, but they were stopped by two other legislators. Three more members remained beside Salehi for the rest of his speech to protect him from further attacks.

On Monday, President Rouhani praised the “historic” acceptance of the outline, but pointed to the ongoing disputes: “As the [Supreme] Leader of the Islamic Revolution said, the JCPOA should not create divisions among the people.”

He appealed, “Today, we are [facing] the post-JCPOA opportunity…and we need unity, solidarity and rapport. We will remain united.”

Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA — and thus the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic — has been held up for weeks by hardline criticism in Parliament. A commission set up to investigate the deal took weeks to conduct hearings before finally submitting a report last week. However, that only brought more disputes, with some commission members saying the final text had ignored the positive dimensions of the agreement and had not been put to a vote.

Before the Majlis acceptance of the outline, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani had pleaded for no more delays, pointing to the damage to Iran’s fragile economy. Rouhani had made a similar statement on Saturday.

Khabar Online, linked to Larijani, accused the Steadfastness Front (Peydari) — led by hardline Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi — of obstruction of the deal.

On Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi predicted that the deal will be adopted on October 19.

Supreme Leader Warns of “Soft War by Enemies”

Addressing the staff of State broadcaster IRIB on Monday, the Supreme Leader focused on an ongoing “soft war” by Iran’s enemies.

Ayatollah Khamenei maintained his warning that the US and its allies were trying to overthrow the Islamic Republic.

Revolutionary Guards Defiance as Commander of Syrian Operations Buried

The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has spoken defiantly at the funeral of the commander of its operations in Syria.

General Mohammad Ali Jafari proclaimed at the burial of Hossein Hamedani, “The faithful Iranian people are telling the US, the Zionist regime, and the al-Saud [monarchy of Saudi Arabia] that they will defend Muslim nations in the region until the last drop of their blood.”

Jafari said the US is expecting the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which would allow Washington to “spread its conspiracies in the region”.

Hamedani was killed by the Islamic State near Aleppo on Thursday, as he led a Syrian military operation to lift the long-time ISIS siege of an airbase.