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Hardliners Hit Back At Rouhani, Blame Him For Failure Of Nuclear Talks

Ultraconservative news website Raja News, close to Paydari Party, one of the most powerful factions at Iran's conservative-dominated parliament, has accused President Hassan Rouhani of refusing to implement parts of the December 2020 legislation that called for limiting Iran's commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal and boosting nuclear enrichment. 

In recent days, Iran’s outgoing president has been blaming the legislation for lack of progress in nuclear talks and lifting of US sanctions.

The website also accused the Rouhani of unilaterally complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) while the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and prevented Iran from benefitting economically.

According to Raja News, Iran's unilateral compliance with the JCPOA disrupted the strategic balance in the interest of the West while at the same time Iran came under heavy sanctions as well as political and security threats.

Although Paydari's leading members have helped Raisi win the June 2021 presidential election and some of the party members are expected to be in his cabinet, it is not clear if Raja News is reflecting the new president's views about the nuclear deal and relations with the United States.

Meanwhile, in a series of 30 tweets, on July 22, Mahdi Mohammadi, an adviser for strategic affairs to Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf also blamed Rouhani for the "failure of negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal."

Referring to Rouhani's almost daily comments about his diplomatic success in forging a deal with the United States, and his claims about having revived the JCPOA in negotiations in Vienna since April 2021, Mohammadi wrote: "The truth is different from what Rouhani says about the deal. It is surprising that he has still not realized that he is one of the most unpopular politicians in Iran's history and that the people know that he is only trying to justify the catastrophe he has created."

Mohammadi added, "Rouhani never believed that Iran should respond to the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani. Rouhani and his team always believed that such attacks and assassinations were traps to drag Iran into a war."

Mohammadi further argued that unlike Rouhani, the Majles believed that the threat of war was an illusion, and that Iran must respond to attacks, so, it came up with the legislation to limit Iran's commitment to the nuclear deal and boost uranium enrichment.

Mohammadi wrote, "The Vienna talks went ahead in a very bad way. While Rouhani's team were continuing the negotiations in Vienna,” he proclaimed success and announced that 70 percent of the sanctions had already been lifted.

Meanwhile, Mohammadi also claimed that "Rouhani never allowed his team in Vienna to demand the normalization of Iran's oil exports and international banking. In a way, since April 2021, Rouhani and his team spoke for the American government."

He also questioned Rouhani's political insight by saying that he feared conflict while Iran adopted the legislation without consequences, while Donald Trump was still president.

Mohammadi further claimed that the Iranian negotiating team had no leverage during the Vienna talks other than the Majles legislation, while Rouhani vilified the legislation. He added that while Biden needed an agreement with Iran, it was Rouhani who missed this historic opportunity and even tipped off the other side by telling them that they could win an agreement without lifting the sanctions.

All of Mohammadi's arguments are made regardless of the fact that it is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who makes all the key decisions on nuclear negotiations and Mohammadi as a nuclear negotiator under former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad must have been well aware of this.

Mohammadi's bottom line in the series of tweets, was that "The United States should know that Rouhani is really gone forever."

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