Top MP warns against ‘rolling out red carpet’ for Biden


TEHRAN — Head of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee has lamented the Rouhani administration’s joyfulness over the victory of Joe Biden in the U.S. presidential election.

“Unfortunately, some government officials are rolling out the red carpet for the enemy, while they should focus on receiving concessions from the other side,” Mojtaba Zonnour said in an open session of the parliament on Sunday, Mehr reported.

Addressing President Hassan Rouhani, Zonnour said the outcome of the U.S. presidential election is not finalized yet.

He warned Rouhani that showing weakness against the enemy would pave the way for them to push for concessions.

“No one in this Majlis (parliament) is against the lifting of sanctions but the issue is that you should engage from a position of power, so that the people’s rights would not be undermined,” said the senior MP.

“No one in this Majlis (parliament) is against the lifting of sanctions but the issue is that you should engage from a position of power, so that the people’s rights would not be undermined.”

Tensions soared between Tehran and Washington since U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, 2018. The U.S. president not only exited the deal but has since targeted Iran with a series of harsh economic bans. Trump has called the sanctions his “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at forcing Iran to renegotiate the nuclear deal.

Biden has signaled that if he becomes president his administration would try to renegotiate the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was struck when he was vice president.

Zarif, on the other hand, has insisted that “under no circumstances” would Tehran consider renegotiating the terms of the deal which was adopted as a UN Security Council Resolution.

“If we wanted to do that [renegotiate], we would have done it with President Trump four years ago,” Zarif told CBS News earlier this month.

In its latest round of sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted the Mostazafan Foundation of Islamic Revolution, a large charitable organization for the poor and the disabled.

The sanctions, announced on Wednesday, also target Parviz Fattah, the head of the foundation, and 50 of its subsidiaries in sectors such as energy, mining, logistics, information technology, and financial services.

Meanwhile, since Biden was projected to become the new president of the United States, conservative figures in Iran have warned against excessive optimism on the Rouhani administration’s part toward the U.S. president-elect.

Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi criticized “wrong signals” made by the Rouhani administration toward the United States, saying the Iranian people are not weak in the face of Washington’s pressure.

“The message of the Iranian nation is not a message of weakness, but it is a message of struggle in the path of their goal … And the Iranian nation will disappoint the enemy through perseverance and resistance,” Raisi said last week.

He said the enemy is trying to dominate the Iranian people’s minds, but the Americans’ smile will not fool the people.

Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said Iran’s economic problems are related to mismanagement in “Pasteur and Bahrestan” rather than the result of U.S. election in the states of Arizona, Georgia, or Michigan.

Pasteur is the seat of the president in Iran and Bahrestan is the seat of the Majlis (parliament).

“Although we are happy over [U.S. President Donald] Trump’s defeat but people’s life and livelihood should not be tied to the victory or defeat of anyone in the White House,” Ghalibaf said in the parliament last week.

He also said it is true that Biden is different from Trump “but we should know that in the best case he will not be different from Obama who was the architect of the so-called crippling sanction.”

MH/PA

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