FM Should Be Given Greater Authority to Protect Nat’l Interests
EghtesadOnline: The scope of authority of the Foreign Ministry and the country's chief diplomat should be broadened as it would help serve national interests, particularly now that the issue of triggering sanctions snapback against Iran is gaining momentum, a senior lawmaker says.
"Iran's diplomatic apparatus should be given a new lease on life, which would be possible only if new areas of authority are defined for the Foreign Ministry and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif," Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh also told ICANA in a recent interview.
He said it is an issue that needs to be seriously taken into consideration under conditions where the European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal are threatening to consider a dispute resolution mechanism enshrined in the agreement, which could lead to UN sanctions against Iran.
"This is the closest we have got to facing renewed UN sanctions after the signing of JCPOA and we should not allow a deterioration of the situation," he added, using the abbreviation for the nuclear agreement's formal name—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Financial Tribune reported.
US President Donald Trump last year pulled out of the nuclear accord between Iran and major powers, under which Tehran undertook to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
The US administration has reimposed and toughened economic sanctions against Iran since then, separating America from its European allies who are trying to save the deal with support from the rest of EU.
In response to US sanctions and European inaction to fulfill its commitments, Iran has been surpassing limits on its atomic activities step by step. It has promised more cuts in its commitments unless Europe acts but says its measures are "reversible".
France recently suggested that Paris is seriously considering triggering the sanctions snapback mechanism as a result of Iran's decision to scale back its nuclear commitments.
Need to 'Manage' Tensions
Falahatpisheh, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said any effort that could help tone down international rhetoric against Tehran over its nuclear program would "serve national interests" and should not be interpreted as a "retreat".
He argues that tensions between Iran and the United States should be "managed" to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.
"The recent prisoner swap between the two countries showed that tensions with a hostile state can also be reduced," Falahatpisheh said.
The United States and Iran in early December swapped prisoners—American citizen Xiyue Wang, detained for three years on spying charges, and imprisoned Iranian stem-cell researcher Masoud Soleimani, accused of sanction violations—in a rare act of cooperation between two longtime foes.
A few days later, Zarif said the Islamic Republic is ready for a full prisoner exchange with the US, tweeting, "The ball is in the US' court".