TEHRAN — Two members of Iran’s hard-line-dominated Parliament were added to a supervisory council responsible for monitoring the country’s nuclear negotiating team, Iranian news media reported Wednesday. The additions appeared to strengthen the influence of critics of the talks between Iran and world powers.
The two members of Parliament were not identified by name, but they were described as “legal and technical experts who will be able to prevent misunderstandings by the Americans.”
The supervisory council’s precise monitoring role has never been made clear. But it now includes one representative from President Hassan Rouhani’s government, one from the judiciary, one from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and three members of Parliament, the semiofficial Mehr News Agency reported.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is also Iran’s leading negotiator in the nuclear dispute, has always emphasized that his negotiation team is fully authorized by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to make a deal with its counterparts: the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany. But the addition of two conservative lawmakers, known for their suspicions toward the West, has injected some uncertainty into Mr. Zarif’s assertion.
Supporters of Mr. Rouhani were displeased with the announcement, saying the nuclear talks are taking place under the authority of Ayatollah Khamenei and do not need monitoring. “These parliamentarians are just trying to feel important,” said Saeed Laylaz, an economist and political analyst with close ties to Mr. Rouhani’s administration. “The supreme leader is monitoring the talks and Parliament has no say or monitoring power at all.”
The news came a day after Iranian negotiators said they had neared an understanding with their counterparts over carrying out a temporary nuclear deal signed with world powers in November.
Abbas Araghchi, the deputy foreign minister, told the semiofficial Tasnim News Agency on Tuesday that he expected both sides to start carrying out their parts of the deal in the final 10 days of January. Iran will commit to a partial freeze of its nuclear activities, including the suspension of some uranium enrichment, while the West will provide some sanctions relief.
Some analysts say the addition of two members of Parliament to the council overseeing the negotiations is a possible sign that the talks are entering a more serious phase.
According to Iran’s Constitution, Parliament must ratify all international treaties. While Parliament cannot veto any temporary deals, like the one signed in November, it can veto a permanent agreement to resolve the nuclear dispute, the underlying objective of the talks. Iran contends its nuclear activities are for civilian purposes. Western nations and Israel say the Iranians aspire to make nuclear weapons.
In 2007, Parliament refused to sign an amendment to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which would have opened up Iranian nuclear sites to more inspections. The same amendment, called the Additional Protocol, is part of the current negotiations.
Several members of Parliament have expressed dissatisfaction in recent months over what they call the Foreign Ministry’s failure to inform them about the details of the negotiations. Their complaints may help explain why the two members of Parliament were added to the supervisory council.
“The parliamentarians are added to make sure that the final agreement is good enough to be approved by Parliament with a majority of votes,” said Hamid Reza Tarraghi, a conservative analyst with close relations to Iran’s leaders. “We have to make sure that the government does not sign something which Parliament will shoot down later.”