“Silence is a sign of approval. “ This Persian proverb takes on its full meaning in the analysis of the speeches of the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. On Monday, February 22, the highest authority in the country hardly commented on the agreement reached the day before in Tehran between the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, and the government of Hassan Rohani, planning to maintain surveillance of nuclear activities, although ” scaled down “, During three months.
The fact that Ali Khamenei ignores the agreement concluded with the IAEA suggests that the Guide does not intend, at this stage, to oppose President Rouhani’s approach. The latter wants to gain time to make room for diplomacy and try to save the nuclear agreement, weakened since the unilateral American withdrawal in 2018. In his speech, Ali Khamenei however acknowledged the differences between the government and the Parliament, mostly conservative and opposed to the nuclear deal.
Trying to play the balancing act, the Supreme Guide praised the law passed in December by deputies to reduce Iran’s commitments under the agreement, and in particular restrict the IAEA’s access to its nuclear and military sites. According to this law, Iran must, as of February 23, end the application of the additional protocol to the 2015 agreement, authorizing the agency to carry out inspections on short notice in sites that have not been declared.
Regular access, including daily access for inspectors to the key Natanz site (Center), will also be suspended. “The government is obliged to apply this law, which is a good law, said the Supreme Leader. The disagreement must be resolved and there must be no divisions. “ He also made sure to reassure the toughest wing of the regime, by mentioning the possibility for Iran to enrich uranium to 60%, if necessary.
Anger of Iranian deputies
The Supreme Guide’s statements were intended to appease the anger aroused among the deputies after the announcement of the compromise signed with the IAEA. Monday morning, the latter, by an overwhelming majority, condemned the agreement, believing it to be contrary to the law. They called on the courts to overturn it and, in protest, suspended consideration of the budget law for the next Iranian year, which begins on March 21.
MEPs called for the immediate dismissal of all IAEA inspectors and the shutdown of the cameras installed by the Agency at Iranian nuclear sites. According to the agreement reached between Tehran and the IAEA on Sunday, these cameras will remain on, but their recordings will not be transmitted to it until after the lifting of US sanctions. And, if the sanctions are not lifted after the three-month period provided for in the agreement, the images will be destroyed.
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