Iranian Parliament Passes Bill Supporting Nuclear Deal

Iranian state news agency IRNA reported on October 12 that the Iranian Parliament passed a bill supporting the country’s participation in the nuclear deal reached in July. The legislation approves Iran’s future fulfillment of stipulations in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated between President Hassan Rouhani’s government and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the U.S. and Germany).

Per the agreement, Iran is set to reduce its nuclear enrichment activities starting this month in return for relief from European and U.S. sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy. Although the JCPOA requires Iran to allow UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors access to nuclear sites, the bill specifies that inspectors must first obtain permission from a top Iranian security agency for access to military sites. The bill was passed with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s religious decree against the development of nuclear weapons inside Iran, a marked shift in his vocal opposition towards the Rouhani government’s initiative. The legislation must be approved by a final vote from the Guardian Council clerical body, expected to pass the bill without issue.

Passage of the bill is expected to reinforce the Rouhani government’s legitimacy amid a fraught political and economic environment. While managing to reach the JCPOA in July, Rouhani faced considerable opposition from conservative factions decrying any reconciliation with the United States. However, the agreement was celebrated by Iranians living with the economic realities of sanctions. While sanctions have yet to be officially lifted, throughout the past month there have been increasing numbers of foreign business delegations visiting Iran. The Iranian Parliament’s decision comes ahead of U.S. Congressional action on American adherence to the JCPOA, as the Obama administration faces similar opposition from Republican representatives.

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