A controversial law on safeguarding Iran’s nuclear rights was found to be constitutional Wednesday despite opposition from the government, which considers it an obstacle in negotiations with world powers.
“The bill obliging the government to preserve nuclear rights and achievements… was not considered to be contradictory to religion nor the constitution and was approved by a majority of votes of Guardian Council members,” council spokesman Nejatollah Ebrahimian said, quoted by Fars news agency.
Parliament adopted the law Tuesday.
The move came just one week before the deadline for an agreement on the disputed nuclear programme with the P5+1 — Britain, China, France Russia and the United States plus Germany.
It exposed persistent tension between President Hassan Rouhani’s government and lawmakers in Tehran, where hardliners routinely voice doubt about the merits of talking to the West.
Rouhani, a moderate who aims to end Iran’s diplomatic isolation, wants an agreement that can lift sanctions that have hobbled the economy.
However, critics of his nuclear policy, including members of the conservative-dominated legislature, say too many concessions have been made and, using the bill, they demanded a bigger say.
The law says the government must “preserve the country’s nuclear rights and achievements,” a reference to retaining the ability to enrich uranium and keeping all nuclear facilities open.
Such demands have already been enshrined in an outline agreement struck on April 2 between Iran and the P5+1 powers.