Iranian parliament to debate bill to leave NPT Additional Protocol

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad-Zarif will today appear before parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, which is pushing to

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Photo: REUTERS via THIRD PARTY

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad-Zarif will today appear before parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, which is pushing to end Iran’s voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The protocol empowers International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to investigate, on short notice, nuclear facilities of NPT signatory nations. Tehran voluntarily complied with the NPT and the protocol—which it signed in 1970 and 2003, respectively—between 2003 and 2006. It then halted cooperation until the signing of the landmark 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) accord.

Ultimately, parliament has little sway over foreign and nuclear affairs, the domain of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who appears to back President Rouhani’s efforts to salvage the JCPOA in some form. However, that endorsement won’t last forever. Conservatives, especially those who fill the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, will most certainly ramp up pressure on Rouhani to withdraw from the JCPOA during the remaining year of his final term. For their part, Javad-Zarif and Rouhani are counting on former US vice president Joe Biden, who is likely to restore US obligations under the JCPOA and lift key sanctions, to win November’s US presidential election.

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