A motion submitted by 35 Iranian lawmakers on Sunday, July 11, calls for a “ban on negotiations between officials of the Islamic Republic and US officials” without the permission of the Iranian Parliament (Majles).
The motion, already placed on the Majles ‘agenda, suggested that those who negotiate with US officials without the approval of Parliament should be given 5 to 10 years’ imprisonment and dismissal from civil service.
However, it may be too late if the intention is to convince the United States that there are forces in Iran other than Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in charge of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, including as a common broader Action Plan is called (JCPOA).
Officials from the United States and other regional states have recently stated repeatedly that they are certain that Khamenei is implementing the regime’s general policy and that he is making all decisions on Iran’s foreign policy.
But Iran has played the parliamentary card so far when the Majles passed a law in December aimed at toughening the West on further violations of the nuclear deal if US sanctions are not lifted. This move came when Tehran knew that Donald Trump was about to disappear from the scene and Joe Biden was ready to negotiate.
It is also widely understood, and also reiterated by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, that all major decisions on the nuclear deal will be made by none other than Khamenei. In other words, statements from actors such as the Iranian President, Parliament and numerous civil officials and military commanders, who usually talk about all matters including the nuclear issue, are just formulaic statements that do not determine or define state policy.
Parliament has only played a serious role in nuclear negotiations twice in the past decade, and both times it has been flattered by Khamenei. Once in 2014, when Khamenei obtained parliamentary approval for the JCPOA, and then in December 2020, when he recklessly increased the stake in the upcoming Biden government.
The new motion describes the US sanctions against Iran as “shameful and irrational” and condemns the targeted killing of the commander of the Qods force of the IRGC, Qasem Soleimani, by the US armed forces in January 2020. It also condemns the US for that they sanctioned Iranian elected President Ebrahim Raisi and other officials. The motion did not name Khamenei and its financial firms as some of those sanctioned by the United States.
Meanwhile, while the US was convicted for labeling some Iranian military organizations as terrorist, the motion did not name the Revolutionary Guards, IRGC.
The strongly worded motion cautiously clears negotiations on issues of international pacts, agreements and treaties based on Iran’s constitutional law. This is paradoxical because the JCPOA is officially an agreement that was approved by the Iranian parliament.
The details of how to meet the requirements of the application for approval by parliament are reported as set out by the ministries of foreign affairs and intelligence, the Iranian judiciary and the IRGC intelligence organization, the IRGC-affiliated Fars news agency.
Most of the 35 MPs who signed the motion, including Hossein Ali Haji Deligani, Ali Asghar Annabestani, Jabbar Kouchakinejad, Morteza Aga Tehrani and Mohammad Saleh Jokar, belong to the ultra-conservative Paydari party, whose members were close to former hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and today one of the strongest political groups in the Iranian parliament.