TEHRAN: Iran’s foreign minister has handed over the landmark nuclear deal reached with world powers last week to the country’s parliament so that Iranian lawmakers can review it, state media said Tuesday.
According to the reports, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who headed the Iranian negotiating team during the talks in Vienna, submitted the text of the agreement to the house.
Under Iran’s constitution, parliament has a right to reject any deal — even one negotiated by the foreign ministry.
However, it was not clear this time whether there will be a vote by lawmakers on the deal or whether they will simply discuss it and possibly express concerns about it. Also, it remained unknown if and when a formal parliament statement on it would be issued.
On Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously endorsed the deal to rein in Iran’s nuclear program and authorized measures leading to the end of U.N. sanctions.
In a speech in parliament that was broadcast on state radio, Zarif hailed the resolution as “unique” and said he expected it to be “the last resolution about Iran’s nuclear issue” — a reference to numerous past U.N. measures.
The Security Council also approved a provision that would automatically reinstate the harsh measures if Tehran reneges on its promises.
Zarif, apparently trying to defuse concerns by hard-liners over snap-back sanctions, said such a move would exact a “heavy price” on the other side as well. Hard-liners who are strong in parliament have opposed the nuclear deal from the start but have mostly remained about it since last week.
“If for any reason, Security Council sanctions are re-imposed, Iran will not be obliged to abide by its commitments” under the nuclear deal, he said, adding that it is not in the interest of both sides to go back to the pre-deal situation.
Under the agreement, Iran’s nuclear program will be curbed for a decade in exchange for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of relief from international sanctions. Many key penalties on the Iranian economy, such as those related to the energy and financial sectors, could be lifted by the end of the year.
Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful, aimed at producing nuclear energy and medical isotopes, but the United States and its Western allies believe Tehran’s real goal is to build atomic weapons.
Zarif said Tuesday the U.N. resolution also opens the way for Iran to commercially trade its uranium. Under the deal, Iran has to dismantle two thirds of its already installed centrifuges for enriching uranium and get rid of 98 percent of its uranium stockpile.