TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian foreign ministry on Tuesday underlined the good interactions between the government and parliament specially in regard to the settlement of the country’s nuclear issue, and said the legislature has the jurisdiction to deal with the country’s approval or non-approval of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“There is a very good interaction between the government and the parliament and the parliament speaker (Ali Larijani) is informed of the process of the negotiations and the relevant discussions,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham told reporters in Tehran today.
“Making a decision about the Additional Protocol is a responsibility vested on the parliament which will decide about the issue based on the trend of the negotiations and progress in debates (with the world powers),” she added.
Deputy Foreign Minister for legal and international affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi and Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi, who both were in Iran’s negotiating team in Geneva, briefed the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission on the recent talks in a meeting on Sunday.
Mohammad Hassan Asafari, a senior member of the Commission, quoted the two Foreign Ministry officials as telling the other side during the Geneva talks that the decision on the acceptance of the Additional Protocol falls within the jurisdiction of parliament.
The talks in Geneva marked the first time Iran and the world powers had met since President Hassan Rouhani’s election.
Yet, questions remained over the proposal presented by Iran’s foreign minister the day before. At this stage, it appears as though the Iranian proposal includes the willingness to limit uranium enrichment, but also a demand that the world powers recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium on its soil.
Iran discussed limiting uranium enrichment with the world powers and reportedly expressed willingness to discuss signing the “additional protocol” – snap inspections of its nuclear facilities.
“None of these issues exist in the first step, but they are part of our last step,” Araqchi said.
On Wednesday morning, several reports surfaced regarding the three-staged Iranian proposal to the world powers, due to be enacted within 6-12 months. AP reported that the Iranians are proposing to limit uranium enrichment as well as the number of centrifuges doing the enrichment. The Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that Iran is prepared to suspend uranium enrichment at 20%, but demands the removal of international sanctions in return.
Iran and the six world powers agreed in Geneva to hold a follow-up round of nuclear negotiations on November 7 and 8.
Some other reports spoke of the acceptance of the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by Iran, which includes snap inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Endorsement of the Additional Protocol needs the approval by not just the Iranian government, but the parliament.
And in response, senior Iranian parliamentary officials underlined that accepting the Additional Protocol should take place after the world powers recognize all the nuclear rights of the Iranian nation.
“Accepting the Additional Protocol depends on the recognition of all the nuclear rights of the Iranian nation, including (uranium) enrichment” by the world powers, Asafari told FNA on Wednesday.
He reiterated that Iran has transparent criteria in its talks with the western powers which include protection of the inalienable right of the Iranian nation to use the nuclear energy and uranium enrichment.
“Acceptance of the Additional Protocol needs the parliament’s approval and if the talks take place within this framework and the Iranian nation’s rights are respected, this can be studied,” Asafari said.
Also, another ranking member of the Iranian legislator, Hassan Kamran, said the legislature is going to study the Additional Protocol to the NPT on Sunday, reiterating that any acceptance of the protocol needs the parliament’s approval.
“This issue (Additional Protocol) needs the parliament’s approval and we will discuss it in the Sunday session of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission,” member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Hassan Kamran said Wednesday.
“All the people who represent Iran in the negotiations should consider the country’s national interests,” he added.
The additional protocol was created following the discovery of clandestine nuclear weapons programs in Iraq and North Korea during the 1990s. Countries conclude specific additional protocols to supplement their International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards arrangement.
For the Additional Protocol to be enforced in any country, it needs the approval of both the government and the parliament of that country.
In addition to those which have basically rejected endorsement of the NPT, most signatories to the NPT have also defied accepting the agreement. Accepting the protocol is a voluntary, and not compulsory, decision.
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