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Iran's parliament speaker warns negotiators against concessions

Iran's parliament speaker said elected representatives would not permit 'special measures,' like U.N. monitoring and inspection to be imposed on the country. Support from Iran's parliament and the US Congress is key for both sides as nuclear negotiations continue. 

Iran's Parliament speaker Ali Larijani listens to a question during a press conference on the sidelines of the 129th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva, Switzerland, Oct. 9. On Sunday, Larijani reminded Iranian and US negotiators that Iran's parliament could intervene in nuclear talks.

Salvatore Di Nolfi/AP

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Iran's parliament speaker warned Sunday that lawmakers could intervene in ongoing nuclear talks with calls for stepped up atomic work if the West presses too hard for concessions.

The message from Ali Larijani — less than a week after talks resumed — appears aimed at both envoys from the West and Iran's negotiation team, which is led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. It also highlights the political jockeying inside Iran between backers of moderate-leaning President Hassan Rouhani and hard-liners wary of his outreach to Washington.

Larijani's comments follow appeals by some members of the US Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran despite the nuclear negotiations and historic diplomatic breakthroughs last month, including President Barack Obama's telephone chat with Rouhani. Larijani, meanwhile, told Iran's representatives that parliament would not permit world powers to impose "special measures" on the country beyond the obligations laid out by the U.N. treaty overseeing nuclear activity, such as U.N. monitoring and inspection.

Iran's ruling clerics approve all major policies and decisions, but parliament holds enough clout to potentially disrupt talks in response to Western demands to curb the program. Such resistance from Iran's parliament could throw doubts on Rouhani's ability to strike a deal with world powers in the same way that protests in Congress could stand in the way of potentially easing sanctions.

Details from last week's talks have remained tightly guarded, but short-range priorities have been made clear. The US and allies seek to roll back Iran's highest-level uranium enrichment, which is several steps away from weapons grade. Iran wants the West to start withdrawing sanctions, which have hit Iran's vital oil exports.


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