Iran hard-liners call parliament vote on nuclear deal illegal

In a last-ditch effort to oppose the inevitable implementation of the nuclear deal, some Iranian hard-liners are claiming that the parliamentary approval process violated the law.

al-monitor Various members of parliament talk with Speaker Ali Larijani (C) in Tehran, Nov. 1, 2011.  Photo by REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi.
Arash Karami

Arash Karami

@thekarami

Topics covered

iranian politics, iran sanctions, iran nuclear deal, iran deal, hard-liners, ali larijani

Oct 14, 2015

With 161 votes in favor, 59 against and 13 abstentions, Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament approved the nuclear deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany on Oct. 13. The approval lifts one obstacle to implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed upon in July, according to which Iran will reduce its nuclear activity in return for sanctions relief. Iranian parliamentarians and media outlets opposed to the deal, however, have not given up, suggesting that the process to approve the deal violated the law.

Mehrdad Bazrpash, a Tehran parliamentarian and the editor of hard-line Vatan-e Emrooz, criticized the process by which the vote came about yesterday, and said, “The JCPOA, which was the result of 22 months of negotiations, should not get 15 minutes” for a vote. In the session for the vote of the nuclear deal, parliament Speaker Ali Larijani was accused of pushing the vote forward and not allowing parliament members to offer amendments or recommendations. Iran's parliament had in the days previous been debating the deal and had even convened a special committee.

Bazrpash continued on the parliament floor, “In your opinion, was an expert or legal bill ratified? Were Articles 65 and 66 of the constitution observed? History will judge on this matter.” Article 65 of Iran’s constitution defines the number of parliament members to be present for a legally valid session. Bazrpash did specify how the law was violated.

Hamid Rasaei, Tehran parliamentarian and editor of hard-line 9-Dey, accused Larijani of “trampling the bylaws” of the country, and said, “Ali Larijani today, in less than 20 minutes, pushed the approval of a bill that implicitly approves the nuclear deal. He did not allow any proposals other than three proposals to his liking, and did not allow any discussions about favoring or opposing recommendations.”

Rasaei, who often gives his views over Instagram, shared a number of memes criticizing the nuclear deal and even a video of him and Larijani debating whether the process of approving it was legal.

On Oct. 14, Rasaei also denied reports by Iranian news agencies that he was gathering signatures to file a complaint against Larijani. He posted over Instagram, “A number of parliamentarians have come to the conclusion that in a parliament that breaks laws such as this, we cannot defend the nation.” He also claimed that a number of parliament members were considering resigning, adding, “They have a right, because the speaker of parliament needs to be a symbol of following the law, not breaking the law.”

The top story on hard-line Kayhan newspaper read, “Parliament’s 15-minute decision for 15 years.” The article read, “While the members of parliament had approximately 200 recommendations for the modification of the implementation of the nuclear deal, in an illegal act without reviewing these recommendations, the most important foreign policy file of the country was closed in parliament in 15 minutes.”

Larijani is closely aligned with President Hassan Rouhani, and administration officials have welcomed the vote to approve the nuclear deal. In his first speech since the approval of the nuclear deal, Rouhani said that the international sanctions on Iran would be removed in two months.

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