November 23, 2015

The Iranian Parliament's Response to President Rouhani: The JCPOA Committee Report

Translated by Jordan Olmstead and Paul Bucala and edited with commentary by Frederick W. Kagan

Section A: Synopsis and General Points of the Report

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1) The Special Commission for Examining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and its Consequences, with assistance from almighty God, the Imams of the House of Ali, and following the guidance of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khamenei, carefully examined the result of the nuclear negotiations. With attention to its legal responsibility as representatives of the honorable people of Iran, it held more than 40 days of meetings with nuclear negotiating teams [past and present], senior government and military officials, and various university experts and professors to examine the finalized text of the negotiations entitled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) arranged between Iran and the P5+1, and [UN] Resolution 2231.

This commission held 170 hours of meetings; 56 of which were with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs negotiating team, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI], relevant supporters and critics [of the agreement], and some of the country’s experts [on this issue]; the commission held 50 hours of internal meetings and nine hours of meetings with the President’s cabinet. 15 meetings were held amongst the specialized committees, which took 32 hours and was a suitable amount of time for multiple meetings with experts and specialists in order to examine the relevant documents; 23 hours of which were field visits to the enrichment facilities of martyr Ali Mohammadi at Fordow and martyr Ahmadi Roshan in Natanz, and the heavy water research reactor at Arak.[i] Special meetings were held with the loved ones [of these officials] and their coworkers alongside our examination of the work that has been done by other specialized groups in the country.[ii] With deep care in its reports, the commission presented the following conclusions on the basis of the revolutionary values and national interests provided by our wise and dedicated leader Imam Khamenei and by the rightly-guided nation of Iran. [These values] were entrusted as a great blessing to Parliament, and were acquired through the effort and endeavors of the founder of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini, and the martyrs of the revolution. With the provision of a concise and rigorous report, the commission provided the legal opinion of the honorable lawmakers on this issue. God willing, the commission will strive as quickly as possible to provide the officials, elites, and great people of Iran the detailed report with attached documents.

2) In the meantime, this Commission has been trying to achieve a detailed understanding of the provided text [of the JCPOA]; give it an unbiased, precise, and comprehensive analysis; listen to agreeing and dissenting viewpoints; examine relevant statements, and eventually reach a complete and reliable verdict on the JCPOA.

3) The governing principle for the Commission’s review is derived from the role of Parliament as described in the Constitution and relies on a comprehensive consideration of the viewpoints and guidance of the founder of the Islamic Revolution [Ruhollah Khomeini] and his worthy successor [Ali Khamenei].[iii] This Commission believes that Iran’s fundamental goal in engaging in the negotiating process was fully consolidating Iran’s nuclear rights according to international regulations, particularly the right to industrial enrichment and the protection of the nuclear research and development cycle, while, at the same time completely and permanently lifting all sanctions and limits on enrichment that have been imposed against Iran on the nuclear issue.[iv] These two principles have been this Commission’s two main criteria for assessing the text of the JCPOA.

4) During the course of examining the JCPOA, the JCPOA Commission relied on the principle that the negotiating team--enjoying the trust of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and the support of the nation--carried out its capacity to the fullest extent possible in developing an appropriate strategy for preserving our national interests and that the negotiations were advanced under the guidance of senior officials according to this strategy. This Commission believes that the results of this process contain strong points and significant weaknesses that present opportunities and threats for the future of the revolution and the national interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This Commission has strived to carefully identify these issues in order to find solutions for these weak points and the threatening they pose, while also consolidating the document’s strengths [in order to] seize potential opportunities. Therefore, in this respect, this Commission considers itself to be supplementing the efforts of the negotiating team, strengthening the accomplishments of the nuclear deal, and correcting problems in the text of the JCPOA and the deal’s consequences.[v] The Commission considers these things necessary—[and] regardless of any conclusion of this report—[this Commission] offers a commendation for the two years of diligent effort by the negotiating team on this topic.

5) During the course of its examination, this Commission has not trusted America, and [instead] has placed trust in the authorities of the country [Iran], especially the nuclear negotiating team, as [our] most important guiding principle. Therefore, in the instances when the JCPOA, the [UN] Resolution, and other relevant documentation enjoyed sufficient clarity and transparency, the basis of this report is the text itself.  In cases of uncertainty or in the case that the JCPOA text has appeared to contain problems, the basis [of the report] is official statements from [Iranian] government officials. The final conclusion of this report is that a number of weak points in the JCPOA and [UN] Resolution 2231 are the result of American efforts to transform the JCPOA into a means of strategically containing Iran and, likewise, to build an infrastructure to infiltrate Iran on the pretense of a “post-sanction environment.”[vi]  For this reason, the Commission has evaluated and followed in a serious and continuous fashion the official positions of America’s officials and experts relevant to this issue from the conclusion of the nuclear negotiations until now—especially in the past two months [August and September 2015]. If the JCPOA poses any kind of threat to the interests of Iran the Commission considers it the right of the Parliament to make the appropriate decisions.

6) The JCPOA Commission believes that it is responsible for a rare historic mission. The commission has taken responsibility for evaluating a document that will determine the disposition of one of Iran’s historical conflicts in the field of national security (the nuclear file) with the most fundamental enemy, meaning America. For this very reason, the Commission has striven to provide a suitable approach for answering important questions about this agreement that will certainly be raised by history and future generations of this country, in addition to trying to understand the various dimensions of the JCPOA [and] trying to reduce its threats. 

7) This Commission has tried to carry out its own assessment, paying attention to the broad policies and redlines of the Islamic system regarding the negotiations, their preliminary conclusion, and also considering the relevant legal regulations.[vii] For the purpose of providing a precise report of this issue and its results, the available documents--the JCPOA and [UN] Resolution 2231, the only documentation on the nuclear dossier that has been presented to this Commission--have been tested against those criteria. This Commission has made decisions on the main issues [in this text] through its collective knowledge, and has subjected the interpretation of the negotiation team and the documents received from them to the claims of the enemy and the ambiguities [of the text]. To this end, in addition to submitting requests for  documents related to the negotiations, 40 questions about the ambiguities [in the nuclear deal] were submitted to  the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 20 questions to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). It is necessary to thank the AEOI for submitting documentation and responses to the requested questions and it is also necessary to say that the documentation and answers to this Commission’s questions have not been sent from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs--despite frequent correspondence--by the time this report was drafted.[viii] 

8) With goodwill, this Commission took advantage of the IAEA General Secretary Mr. Yukiya Amano’s visit to Iran [on September 20] and requested that the administration lay the groundwork for Amano to attend a meeting of the Commission. [The Commission] appreciates the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in preparing the framework for the expression of a small part of Iran’s oppression and the righteous demands of the people of the world--especially dear Iran--[that have been] oppressed by the principal nations of the General Secretary[‘s organization]. The representatives of the people were able to remind the highest official of this institution of his solemn responsibility, to express mistrust and condemn the behavior and actions of the IAEA in the past 12 years, and to give him an ultimatum. At the end of the meeting, in addition to stating this Commission’s important redline about defense and security issues and the need to protect the dignity of Islamic Iran, this Commission made five important requests of the IAEA that follow below:[ix]

8.1 - Non-political, technical, and transparent interactions between the IAEA and Iran. 

8.2 - The protection of classified Iranian nuclear information.

8.3 - Help developing Iranian nuclear technology.

8.4 - Facilitating nuclear research and knowledge development in Iran.

8.5 - The necessity of striving harder towards nuclear disarmament in the world and starting that [process] in the Middle East and North Africa Region.[x]

In the conclusion of this meeting the IAEA General Secretary gave assurances that firstly, the remainder of the nuclear dossier (the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program) would be closed by [December 31, 2015]; secondly, that the [IAEA] would refrain from publishing any form of confidential technical or “human information” on Iran in the nuclear field; thirdly that [the investigation] would only be on the basis of technical investigations and [would] abstain from taking a political perspective.


[i] Editor’s note: The Special Commission had five subcommittees that were tasked with reviewing specific topics related to the nuclear agreement.
[ii] Editor’s note: The report is highlighting that Commissioners condoled with the surviving family members of the nuclear scientists who were killed.
[iii] Editor’s note:  Cf. Articles 76 and 77 of the Iranian Constitution:  “The Islamic Consultative Assembly has the right to investigate and evaluate all the affairs of the nation,” and “Treaties, transactions, contracts, and all international agreements must be ratified by the Islamic Consultative Assembly.”  Available at, accessed 18 November 2015.
[iv] Emphasis added.  Editor’s note:  The references to “industrial” enrichment indicate the scale of the enrichment program Iran may have.  Industrial is meant to be distinct from academic or research, which would require a much smaller enrichment capability.
[v] Emphasis added.  Editor’s note: The Commission thus assigned itself the right do more than simply review the text and propose that Parliament approve or disapprove it.  It arrogated to itself the power to specific changes in the JCPOA itself that would have required re-opening negotiations with the P5+1.
[vi] Emphasis added.  Editor’s note: The concept of the JCPOA as a vehicle to allow the West to infiltrate Iran and weaken Iranians’ commitment to the values of the revolution has been a core theme of Supreme Leader Khamenei’s commentary on the deal since its signature.  It has prompted a number of arrests and set the conditions for a purge of Iranian government officials as well.  See “Iran News Round Up, September 16, 2015,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, and “Iran News Round Up, November 5, 2015,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project,
[vii] Editor’s note:  the “Islamic system” refers to the Iranian regime with Khamenei at its head; the “redlines” are Khamenei’s announced redlines, which he reiterated on June 23, 2015 in a major speech on the negotiations:  1) “We will not accept a long-term limitation [on enrichment] of 10-12 years”; 2)” there will be no limitations on nuclear ‘research, development, and construction’ during the period limiting enrichment”; 3) economic sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council or the U.S. must be removed “immediately after the signing of the agreement,” and all other sanctions must be removed after a “reasonable time”; and 4) “no inspections of military sites, interviews with ‘Iranian individuals’ [scientists], or ‘unconventional’ inspections.” See “Iran News Roundup, June 23, 2015,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, It should be noted that the final text of the JCPOA, at least, as it has been understood by the U.S. government, violated all of Khamenei’s redlines. See J. Matthew McInnis, “Khamenei has his own tough sell on the nuclear deal,” AEIdeas, July 20, 2015,  
[viii] Emphasis added.  Editor’s note:  This comment likely means that Foreign Minister Javad Zarif refused to provide the Commission with details about the negotiations themselves, presumably including direct conversations with U.S. officials and other representatives of the P5+1, whereas the AEOI answered the Commission’s questions regarding technical aspects of the agreement and of its implications for Iran’s nuclear program.  This behavior parallels the interaction between the U.S. administration and the U.S. Congress—relevant officials briefed Congress on technical details regarding both the nuclear program and sanctions relief, but refused to provide access to “secret annexes” or the details of the negotiations themselves.  See “Iran News Round Up, September 30, 2015,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project,
[ix] Editor’s note: The Iranian government has consistently claimed that the IAEA is controlled by the U.S. and has behaved dishonestly and with hostility toward Iran.  The Iranians claim that the IAEA has provided the U.S. and other member states with access to classified material given to it by Iran, and that it is a façade for espionage against Iran.  This fundamental mistrust of the IAEA permeates the Iranian government’s attitudes toward all aspects of the IAEA’s role in the nuclear agreement.  See “Iran News Round Up, September 21, 2015,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project,
[x] Editor’s note:  Iran has long claimed that the IAEA, at the behest of the U.S., has applied the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s provisions to Iran selectively.  The last three points contain the core of Iran’s grievance—the NPT does, indeed, assert the right of non-nuclear-weapons signatories (of which Iran is one) to receive the assistance of other nuclear powers in pursuing the peaceful use of nuclear technology (Articles IV and V in particular).  It also commits the parties to the treaty to “pursue negotiations in good faith” for a “treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control” [Article VI].  Iran’s leaders point in particular to Israel’s nuclear arsenal as an example of the refusal of the international community to apply to treaty’s provisions fairly.  It should be noted that all of Iran’s complaints about the NPT are easily met with reference to the text of the treaty itself.  The NPT does not specify a timeline for negotiations for a global treaty banning all nuclear weapons.  International restrictions on support for Iran’s peaceful nuclear program are based on Iran’s consistent violations of the agreements it made with the IAEA coincident with Articles II and III of the treaty.  And the treaty’s provisions apply only to signatories, of which Israel is not one.  See for the text of the treaty [last accessed 18 November 2015].
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