Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Will Iran Apply Bill to Inspect Nuclear Facilities?

Wed 02 Dec 2020 | 06:00 PM
Ahmad El-Assasy

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected Wednesday the bill resolution, approved by Parliament to suspend inspections of nuclear facilities unless sanctions are lifted. He said it was detrimental to diplomatic efforts to restore the nuclear deal with major powers and ease US sanctions.

The bill states that international inspections of Iranian nuclear sites will be banned from next month if the United States does not lift the main sanctions imposed on Iran.

During a cabinet meeting, Rouhani said his administration "does not approve of this and considers it harmful to diplomatic activities." He hinted that the MPs are strengthening their positions before the elections scheduled for June.

The Iranian president added: "Today we are stronger in the nuclear field than at any other time."

On his part, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said: "The government has clearly announced that it does not agree to this plan." He added that from the government's point of view "this plan is unnecessary and unhelpful."

"The government believes that according to the constitution, the nuclear agreement and the nuclear program are the prerogatives of the Supreme National Security Council. The parliament cannot deal with this matter alone," government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters.

The conflict over the bill reflects the rivalry between Rouhani and the parliament dominated by hardliners who favor a more confrontational approach with the West.

The bill would suspend inspections by the United Nations. The bill requires the government to resume uranium enrichment by 20% if European countries fail to ease tough US sanctions on the country's oil and banking sectors. This level is below the level required for nuclear weapons but above the level required for civilian purposes.

In 2015, Tehran and the major powers signed an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, according to which many of the sanctions that were imposed on Tehran were lifted in exchange for guarantees that allow the international community to ensure that this program is peaceful. The United States unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018 and re-imposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran.

The bill is not final and still needs approval from the Guardian Council, the body authorized to review the legislation.

Notably, a senior Saudi official denied on Tuesday the accusations made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the Kingdom of involvement in the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last week near Tehran.