Iran lawmakers pick members of nuclear deal review panel

Friday 14/08/2015
Debate is raging in both Washington and Tehran

TEHRAN - Iran's parliament announced Wednesday the final composition of a 15-member panel largely composed of conservative lawmakers to review the country's nuclear deal with world powers.

Iranian MPs have demanded a stronger say in the deal negotiated by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with US Secretary of State John Kerry and top diplomats from five other leading nations.

Along with criticism of the nuclear talks in hardline conservative media outlets, Iran's parliament has witnessed deep scepticism over the diplomacy that finally led to the accord in Vienna on July 14.

The agreement -- reached in talks between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- aims to curb Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for lifting international sanctions imposed on its economy since 2006.

Iran denies Western accusations that it seeks an atomic bomb.

The fate of the deal, and the extent to which Iranian MPs can influence a final accord, remains unclear.

The nuclear deal review panel, comprised of 13 conservatives and two reformists, will analyse the text of the agreement.

Iran's parliament may then vote on approving or rejecting the accord, likely in October after a similar review by US lawmakers in Washington.

A strong majority of MPs in Tehran -- 201 of 290 -- requested such a measure.

But formal oversight of the accord rests with Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), a powerful committee headed by President Hassan Rouhani and of which Zarif is also a member.

The SNSC reports to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who on Monday said the fate of the nuclear deal "is not clear as no one knows if it will be approved here or in America".

Although Khamenei -- who has the final word on all policy matters -- praised Iran's negotiators after the deal was announced, he has not explicitly said whether he endorses its terms or disagrees with them.

Despite the debate about the deal raging in both Washington and Tehran, Zarif said on July 29 that he had "no concern or worry" about the agreement being implemented in the next few months.