Foreign Ministry: Motion ‘neither necessary nor useful’
Iran’s Parliament endorsed the outlines of a bill which requires the government to suspend more nuclear commitments under the 2015 deal unless sanctions are lifted.
During an open parliamentary session on Tuesday, 251 out of 260 lawmakers present voted ‘yes’ to the draft bill. The details of the bill, which aims to counteract sanctions imposed on the Iranian nation and safeguard its interests, will be reviewed in a second reading, according to Press TV.
The plan, among other things, requires the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to produce at least 120 kilograms of 20%-enriched uranium annually and store it inside the country within two months after the adoption of the motion.
Speaking during Tuesday’s session, Abolfazl Amouei, the spokesman of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said the plan is meant to open the locks placed on the Iran’s nuclear program and advance the goals of nuclear martyrs such as Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was assassinated by suspected Israel-tied terrorists on Friday.
“The country’s nuclear program must proceed according to the needs of our country. When the plan is approved, we expect that it (the nuclear program) will be strengthened and developed, and that this trend will accelerate,” he added.
The plan, Amouei said, also seeks to make the imposition of sanctions against the Iranian people a “costly” measure for Western countries.
The bill requires the government to suspend the implementation of the Additional Protocol, which allows nuclear inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, one month after the adoption in case the remaining parties to the deal – France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia – fail to fully live up to their commitments.
Lawmakers say sanctions on Iran’s banking system and oil exports among other things must be lifted during a 30-day period.
US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled Washington out of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, waiting for the cosignatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by offsetting the impacts of American bans on the Iranian economy.
As those parties failed to do so, the Islamic Republic moved in May 2019 and began to roll back some of its JCPOA commitments under articles 26 and 36 of the deal that cover Tehran’s legal rights.
‘Neither necessary nor useful’
Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said Parliament does not have the power to made decisions about nuclear activities and the JCPOA on its own.
“The government believes that, under the Constitution, the nuclear accord and the nuclear program... are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme National Security Council... and Parliament cannot deal with this by itself,” Rabiei told reporters, according to IRNA.
He said enriching uranium to 20% purity and abandoning the Additional Protocol will make sanctions “permanent”.
“Based on past experience, this bill… will not help lift sanctions,” Rabiei said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also said Parliament had not heeded the ministry's views in drafting the motion.
Khatibzadeh said at a press briefing that the bill is “neither necessary nor useful.”
“The government has explicitly stated that it opposes the bill,” he said, adding that it is not clear whether the rights of the Iranian people will be safeguarded with this motion.
AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi warned abandoning the Additional Protocol “raises doubts and ambiguities” about Iran's nuclear program.
“The implementation of the Additional Protocol will not hinder the enrichment process, but non-implementation will raise doubts and ambiguity about Iran's nuclear program,” he said on Tuesday, according to ISNA.