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Rouhani rejects parliamentary Bill kicking out UN inspectors as revenge for Fakhrizadeh murder

IRANIAN President Hassan Rouhani today rejected a Bill passed by parliament that would suspend United Nations inspections of nuclear facilities and boost uranium enrichment.

The resolution was moved and approved amid anger among MPs at the murder of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on the outskirts of Tehran last week, almost certainly by Israeli agents.

An end to UN inspections and enriching uranium to 20 per cent, as called for by the resolution, would further violate the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – better known as the Iran nuclear deal – monitoring Iran’s development of nuclear energy, which it says is only intended for civilian use. 

The agreement has been a dead letter since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 and slapped punitive sanctions on Iran. But there are hopes that the incoming Joe Biden administration will seek to revive the deal, and analysts see Fakhrizadeh’s killing as a bid to provoke an Iranian reaction that would scupper that.

Mr Rouhani made it clear that he was determined not to permit such an outcome when he rejected the Bill, declaring that the government “does not agree with that and considers it harmful for the trend of diplomatic activities.”

He also hinted that MPs were pushing for revenge in order to position themselves for next June’s elections.

The communist Tudeh Party of Iran’s international secretary Navid Shomali told the Morning Star that the Bill confirmed its earlier statement that “jingoistic forces in Iran, the US and the Middle East” were keen to continue “the current catastrophic state of affairs.

“But the theocratic regime in Tehran is not in a position to sustain the economic and social burden and is desperate for economic sanctions to be lifted,” he observed, adding that the Iranian government “has no choice but to negotiate a deal with the US and major political factions are jockeying for position.”

A “hard-line conservative cabal” in Iran’s parliament is profiting from the tensions, Mr Shomali argued, and is therefore trying “to force Biden’s hand by pushing the US into a more aggressive position” while also “hoping to scupper any chance of reviving the JCPOA.

“This will only lead to further cracks and divisions in the ruling theocratic dictatorship. The opposition of the people will grow in their struggle for democratic change.”

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