Hossein Shariatmadari, the influential editor of Kayhan (appointed to the position by Ayatollah Khamenei), claimed in an editorial published on Saturday that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is opposed to the nuclear agreement with the world powers, JCPOA.
Khamenei has not publicly approved or disapproved the deal, and Shariatmadari’s editorial is the first serious indication that he is actually opposing the JCPOA. Members of Iran’s negotiating team had said publicly that the supreme leader were continually briefed on the progress of the talks and had sent messages to the negotiating team regarding the issues under discussion. His opposition to JCPOA, if Shariatmadari understands it correctly, would be a blow to the deal.
Shariatmadari said in the editorial, entitled ‘The Only Choice Facing Us.’ that many parts of the deal threatens Iran’s independence, security and the “sacred system of the Islamic Republic of Iran” and would be “disastrous” if Tehran implemented the accord. (Kayhan, 15 August)
Iran’s parliament (Majlis) or the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) will consider the agreement in the coming days. Senior leaders in Iran are divided on which institution needs to give its final approval or disapproval to the deal, Majlis or SNSC. Khamenei’s ruling on this issue would determine which body would examine the JCPOA.
The hardliners like Shariatmadari prefer that Majlis disapproves the deal. Some hardliners, like military chief Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, prefer the Majlis not even consider the deal, fearing an approval by the body would make the defense-related provisions in the agreement, limitations on ballistic missile program and arms imports, binding for Iran.
For Farsi readers, please click here to read Shaiatmadari’s editorial.
File photo: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (AFP)