Iranian Officials Debate Confidentiality of P5+1 Talks


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The general insistence that the details of the negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) that took place last week remain confidential has begun to cause controversy inside Iran.

Reformist Shargh wrote, “Kahyan newspaper sees the talks being confidential and the smiles of the West after the negotiations being proof of the loss and concessions of the Iranians, a member of parliament’s National Security Commission [NSC] not being informed of the details has complained and the speculation of the Western media about the amount of enrichment and acceptance of additional protocols has thrown salt into the wounds of critics.”

Kayhan is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is leading the negotiations, told Al-Monitor Friday that details of the proposal reported by an Iranian source had “little in common with reality.”

Shargh continued that some parliament members have supported the talks remaining confidential. Conservative parliament member Ahamd Tavakoli said, “Wisdom requires that this happen. Before the diplomatic negotiations reach any results, should we yell about it in the streets? This is very reasonable, and it should be done.”

Ali Asghar Zaeri, a member of the hard-line Endurance Front who was part of former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili’s presidential campaign, said, “Experience has shown that the contents of the talks is published by P5+1. Therefore, the loyalty of the negotiating countries to the Zionists is obvious. We have trust in our negotiation team, but there is no reason that when the opposing side gives information to the Zionist regime, the Iranian side would not give information to Iranian officials and journalists.”

Another member of the NSC has attempted to take a neutral stance on that matter. Avaz Heydarpour explained, “The negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 have always been confidential.” He added, however, that “Zarif should in a managed way transfer information about the negotiations to sections of the people and officials.”

Seyed Bagher Hosseini, another member of the NSC, also defended the position, saying, “Of all of the diplomatic negotiations, the contents that were presented have essentially remained confidential, and parts of the negotiations were disclosed for public awareness. Talks being confidential until they reach a final result is customary all over the world, and the talks in Geneva have been like all other talks. It being confidential is natural.”

After the Geneva negotiations, Zarif was unable due to health reasons to attend a session with the NSC to report on the progress of the negotiations. Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbs Araghchi and Majid Takhtravanchi, who is on the negotiating team, went in his place.

Last week, Ghanoun wrote that much of the controversy over the negotiations and debate over its confidential nature have more to do with the fact that the parliament wants to send a representative along with the negotiation team. The article stated that many officials and institutions believe these negotiations have the potential to be successful and are seeking to not only take part in them, but more importantly, to receive a portion of the credit.