US congressional opponents of the Iran nuclear deal have been unable to stop it from moving forward. What’s happening in Iran? DW spoke with Iranian parliamentarian Siamak Morsadegh.
DW: Iran has not yet ratified the nuclear agreement negotiated with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1). Only a few Iranian parliamentarians have said that they will support the deal. You happen to be the only Jewish parliamentarian in Iran, and you back it. Why?
Siamak Morsadegh: First, I have to clarify that many parliamentarians support the agreement. We are just not in agreement about the details. The agreement is not ideal in my eyes, either, but I support it because it also brings a lot of advantages that are in Iran’s own national interest. The agreement stresses that we did not, and do not, want an atomic bomb. Now, countries that have distanced themselves from Iran, because they were pressured to do so by the US, can go their own way and operate in accord with their own national interests.
An absolute majority of 201 of Iran’s 290 parliamentarians recently approved a draft law “to protect the nuclear rights and achievements of Iran.” That could cause the collapse of the nuclear deal. Among other things, the proposal prohibits inspections of “non-nuclear military or security related facilities.” That strikes at the core of Western demands. Conservative parliamentarians have emphasized that they are supporting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with this stance. What do you think?
I think the supreme leader has yet to make his decision. He has not dismissed the deal, nor has he endorsed it. He has also stated that he favors a parliamentary vote on the agreement. Of course, he will have the last word on the subject, but I am certain that he will take the opinions of members of parliament into consideration when making that decision.
President Hassan Rouhani ‘s government is of the opinion that the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 is not bound by parliamentary approval. But parliamentarians claim that according to the constitution, the agreement has to be presented to parliament as a bill. Who will get their way?
Parliament will review the deal, though it is not clear in what form. It may be that a special committee will deal with it, but perhaps the entire parliament will deal with it in an open session. I think it’s too early to say more than that.
What would the deal mean for the Jewish community in Iran? For instance, for you, as a surgeon and the director of the Dr. Sapir Hospital and Charity Center in Tehran?
The people of Iran are one nation. We Jews have never seen ourselves as separate from our nation. We experience the same things that other Iranians experience. I don’t think that the European and American people are completely informed about just how inhumane sanctions against Iran truly are. They have made the lives of normal Iranians extremely difficult.
For instance, Iran’s exclusion from international financial markets has led to a desperate shortage of absolutely essential medications. That has resulted in an enormous deterioration of quality of life for many sick people, even children, and especially cancer patients. The lifting of sanctions and anything else that helps our nation move forward will also positively affect the lives of Jews in Iran.