Iran parliament approves nuclear deal with world powers

The nuclear deal bill now goes to the Guardian Council who will review the accord before its final approval.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, centre, is surrounded by a group of politicians after his speech on Iran's nuclear deal bill with world powers on October 11. Iran's parliament has approved the bill on October 13. Ebrahim Noroozi / AP Photo
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TEHRAN // Iran’s parliament voted on Tuesday to support implementing the nuclear deal it struck with world powers.

The bill now goes to the Guardian Council who will review the accord before its final approval.

The 12-member council could send the bill, which allows Iran to back out of the nuclear pact if sanctions are imposed or not lifted, back to parliament to reconsider. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on key policies, has said it is up to the 290-seat parliament to approve or reject the deal.

In the session carried live by state radio, 161 MPs on hand voted for the nuclear deal, while 59 voted against it and 13 abstained. Another 17 did not vote at all, while 40 MPs did not attend the session.

It was not immediately clear Tuesday when the Guardian Council would issue its own decision.

The bill gives the right of implementing the deal to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, the top security body of the country that President Hassan Rouhani heads. Ayatollah Khamenei himself has not publicly supported or disapproved of the deal, though he offered encouragement for the Iran’s diplomats throughout the months of negotiations over it.

Discussion of the bill in the parliament had been unusually tense, with hardliners repeatedly trying to prevent a vote on the deal. They hope to stall the deal to weaken Nr Rouhani’s administration ahead of February’s parliamentary elections.

During Tuesday’s session, hardliners claimed the bill had no support from Ayatollah Khamenei and tried to delay vote by raising numerous proposals on its details. Iran’s official IRNA news agency said Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister, left the session after it got tense.

A preliminary parliamentary vote Sunday saw 139 politicians out of the 253 present supported the outline of the bill.

The deal calls for limiting Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. The accord came after nearly two years of negotiations between Iran and world powers including the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

The West long has suspected Iran’s nuclear programme has a military dimension. Iran says its programme is for peaceful purposes, like power generation and medical treatments.

* Associated Press