Iran’s regime has publicly split over the nuclear talks with the 5+1 Powers, three days after the failure to reach a comprehensive agreement.
The Revolutionary Guards and hardline factions broke their initial silence over the outcome, which extended negotiations to July 1, with attacks on Wednesday on the negotiating team, the Rouhani Government — and even the Supreme Leader’s top foreign policy advisor.
Speaking at a commemoration of the Basij militia and the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, the Guards’ top commander, Mohammad Ali Jaffari, derided “American conspiracies” and said, “It became clear that America is not reliable [in the nuclear talks].” He challenged the US-led sanctions regime: “The people know that the economic and political pressure and military threats are because…the people will not submit to American force.”
However, the most interesting part of Jafari’s address was about the Iranian side. Saying “we have to rely on our own ability”, he indicated that Tehran’s negotiators had not been firm enough in the discussions.
Guards outlet Vatan-e Emrooz Vatan-e-Emrooz had only one giant word on its front page: “Nothing”. On the name page, it railed, “A year has passed since the Geneva accord. Nuclear negotiations for the removal of sanctions did not reach a result.”
Raja News, also linked to the Guards and to hardline critics of the Government, went even farther. It jabbed at the Supreme Leader’s chief foreign policy advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati, for his backing of the negotiations and the Iranian approach.
Raja’s attack returned to a tense moment in the 2013 Presidential campaign, when Velayati criticized fellow candidate Saeed Jalili — who led Iran’s nuclear negotiating team — for a counter-productive diplomacy that failed to engage with the 5+1 Powers. Velayati said that had Jalili shown any skill, Iran would already have reached a settlement in its interests.
Raja asked in its headline, “How Have Velayati’s Theories in the Debates Regarding the Negotiations become Void?” It said the time had come to evaluate “historic claims…about the principles of negotiations”, as Iran had given up “all of its winning cards” by suspending enrichment of 20% uranium while the US-led sanctions continue.
The latest statements appear to set the Guards, hardline politicians like Jalili, and the Basij militia against not only the Government but also the Speaker of Parliament, Ali Larijani; the head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani; and the head of Iran’s military, General Hassan Firouzh
Both Larijanis and Firouzabadi have praised the Iranian negotiators this week, saying the nuclear talks should continue and Iran’s rights were being defended.
Wednesday’s developments also point to a split in the Supreme Leader’s office. Former Foreign Minister Velayati and former Interior Minister Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri back the negotiations, while other advisors believe that they have failed to defend the Islamic Republic’s interests.
According to well-placed sources, the Supreme Leader’s son Mojtaba is allied with the critics of the talks.
Asked if the Supreme Leader could contain the dispute, one of the sources replied:
Can Ayatollah Khamenei control the Revolutionary Guards? I don’t know.
By EA WorldView
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