Despite Pressure, Iran’s President Works to Preserve Chance for US Talks

Rouhani is at odds with parliament over IAEA deal and US officials are making his job more difficult by calling for a stricter nuclear deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is still working to salvage the opportunity to revive the nuclear deal with the new Biden administration despite the domestic pressure he is under.

Iranian lawmakers are not pleased with a deal Rouhani made with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to soften the blow of Iran ending its voluntary compliance with the Additional Protocol, which allows the IAEA to conduct snap inspections.

Rouhani’s government reached a “temporary bilateral technical understanding” with IAEA chief Rafael Grossi. Iran suspended the Additional Protocol on Tuesday, but Grossi is satisfied with the understanding he reached with Tehran.

Rouhani’s government was required to suspend the Additional Protocol if the US did not lift sanctions by a bill passed by Iran’s parliament in December. The bill was a plan to counter US sanctions and was passed after the assassination of Iranian Scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was killed in an apparent Israeli plot.

On Monday, Iran’s parliament overwhelmingly passed a motion to send a report to Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission on the IAEA deal. The report says the agreement Rouhani reached with the IAEA is a “clear violation” of the law passed in December.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei acknowledged the split between the government and the parliament in a tweet on Monday. “Today’s dispute between parliament and government must be resolved,” he wrote. Regardless of the split, Rouhani, Khamenei, and the parliament are all willing to reverse these measures if the US lifts sanctions.

One thing that is not helping Rouhani’s diplomatic efforts is comments from US officials who are calling for a stricter nuclear deal before lifting sanctions, vindicating Iran’s hardliners.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that the US will work to “lengthen and strengthen” the JCPOA. Iran’s stance has been clear. They have no interest in negotiating a stricter agreement before the US comes into compliance with the original agreement and lifts sanctions.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.