Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday that he supports a parliamentary vote on that country’s nuclear deal with the U.S.
“I am not saying lawmakers should ratify or reject the deal,” he said in remarks on live television. “It is up to them to decide.”
Just as the U.S. Congress includes vehement objectors to the multilateral agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, many in Iran’s government are deeply skeptical as well. But the structure of Iranian politics, in which the Supreme Leader has the final say, means that President Hassan Rouhani has even more hurdles to leap than U.S. President Barack Obama. (RELATED: Chief Of Iran’s Elite Guard Corps Says Hostility With US ‘Has Increased’)
Rouhani himself has discouraged Iran’s parliament from voting on the deal, saying that it would cause legal complications to implementing the deal. But in a mirror-image of the U.S., Ayatollah Khamenei and his loyalists in the regime continue to treat the deal as a dangerous concession to American overreach.
Meanwhile, Congress’ deadline for voting on the Iran deal is Sept. 19, though leadership has vowed to bring the issue to a vote next week.
Wednesday saw Obama win enough support in the Senate to pass the deal — a vote he had been hoping to avoid from the start. But Republicans have vowed to pass new sanctions on Iran which would weaken key elements of the agreement. (RELATED: White House’s @TheIranDeal Gets Rivals @TheIranBomb and @TheIranMeal)
Khamenei also supports the complete elimination of Western sanctions on Iran, rather than their suspension. Despite the intricate details of the agreement, the U.S. and Iran have interpreted the provisions of sanctions relief in drastically different ways.
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