Iranian politicians vote to back global nuclear deal

The Iranians show off a torpedo weapons system. Picture: AP
The Iranians show off a torpedo weapons system. Picture: AP
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IRAN’S parliament voted yesterday to support implementing a landmark nuclear deal struck with world powers despite hard-line attempts to derail the bill, suggesting the historic accord will be carried out.

The bill will be reviewed by Iran’s 12-member Guardian Council, a group of senior clerics who could return it to politicians for further discussion. However, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on key policies, has said it is up to the 290-seat parliament to approve or reject the deal.

Signalling the nuclear deal’s likely success, a spokesman for moderate president Hassan Rouhani’s administration welcomed the parliament’s vote and called it a “historic decision.”

“Members of parliament made a well-considered decision today showing they have a good understanding of the country’s situation,” Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said. “We hope to see acceleration in progress and development of the country from now on.”

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who helped facilitate the nuclear talks, also praised the vote as “good news” in a message on Twitter.

In the parliamentary session carried live by state radio, 161 politicians voted for implementing the nuclear deal, while 59 voted against it and 13 abstained. Another 17 did not vote at all, while 40 politicians did not attend the session.

A preliminary parliamentary vote on Sunday saw 139 politicians out of the 253 present support the outline of the bill. But despite getting more support yesterday, hardliners still tried to disrupt the parliament’s session, shouting that Mr Khamenei himself did not support the bill while trying to raise numerous proposals on its details.

“This decision has no link to the leader” shouted Mahdi Kouchakzadeh, a hardliner who rushed toward the front of parliament to yell at speaker Ali Larijani. “It is a decision by Larijani and we oppose it.”

The semi-official Fars news agency reported that Ali Aghar Zarei, another hardliner, broke down weeping after the vote. Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who led Iran’s nuclear negotiation team, left the session when it grew tense, the state-run IRNA news agency said.

The bill grants responsibility for implementing the deal to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, the top security body of the country, which Mr Rouhani heads. It allows Iran to withdraw from the agreement if world powers do not lift sanctions, impose new sanctions or restore previous ones.

“The government is obligated to stop its voluntary cooperation if the other side fails to remain committed,” the bill says.