Skip to main content

Iran nuclear negotiators have no 'authority' to discuss IS

Iranian Gen. Massoud Jazayeri said that Iran's nuclear negotiators only have the authority to conduct talks on the nuclear issue, and not the Islamic State, with US officials.
EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to film or take pictures in Tehran

Spokesman for Iran's Joint Armed Forces Staff Masoud Jazayeri speaks during a news conference in Tehran January 30, 2012.  REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) - RTR2X2ST

The deputy chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Gen. Massoud Jazayeri, said that Iran’s nuclear negotiators do not have the authority to negotiate on cooperation against the Islamic State group (IS) and can only negotiate on Iran’s nuclear program within a specific framework.

In an interview with Arabic news station Al-Alam, which is owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Jazayeri was asked about reports that US officials had addressed the issue of IS on the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations that are currently taking place in New York and whether the Iranian negotiators have the discretion to conduct talks on IS.

“What I know [is] the Iranian delegation only has authority on the issue of the nuclear discussions, and that is within a framework that has been determined for them,” Jazayeri said. “Of course, it’s possible the Americans mention something about IS, but it’s not clear what the Iranian delegates' response will be.”

Jazayeri viewed claims that the United States has discussed the issue of IS with Iran as an US “attempt to gain legitimacy from the Islamic Republic” in its moves against IS. He added, “We explicitly state that America does not have the legitimacy to fight terrorism. Because the very moment that America states that it is fighting terrorism, its is training terrorists.”

The issue of whether the United States has discussed the anti-IS coalition with Iran has been a controversial one. While the United States says that Iran has not been invited to be part of the coalition that includes a number of Middle Eastern countries, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that he found that claim “amusing” and that Iran had in fact rejected numerous offers from the United States to cooperate against IS.

On US proposals for Iran to join the coalition against IS, Jazayeri said, “I can explicitly say that the Americans are lying. [President Barack] Obama personally, the secretary of state and all of his officials in various situations have invited Iran to join the coalition.” He continued, “Obviously, Iran gave them a negative answer and out of anger, they say that Iran was not part of the coalition.” 

There have been reports that Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry have discussed the progress against IS on the margins of the nuclear negotiations. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, has also been meeting with European leaders, and the topic of IS will certainly be raised.

While there has been extensive media coverage of the meetings, especially about possible talks regarding IS, there appears to be an exchange of positions and concerns over the IS threat rather than detailed talks. Under Iran’s constitution, foreign policy matters are the purview of the supreme leader and given these recent statements by Jazayeri, it appears that the Rouhani administration has not been given any leeway to initiate talks in this area, unlike the nuclear program.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial