Iran Can Increase Nuclear Transparency, Embattled President Says

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani proposed to make his country’s atomic work more transparent to allay fears Iran seeks to build weapons, as negotiators prepared for a new round of nuclear talks.

“What we can offer the international community is increased transparency,” state-run Fars news agency quoted Rouhani as saying in a speech at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran introducing scientific developments.

“We want to prove to the world that our actions are within the framework of the law and that Iran never pursued nuclear weapons,” Rouhani said. “Once more we are telling the world: Our activities are peaceful and we are protecting our national interests.”

Representatives of the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia are to meet with Iranian nuclear negotiators in Vienna on May 13 in an effort to finalize a nuclear deal before an interim pact expires in July. In recent weeks, Rouhani and his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have been attacked by domestic opponents who accuse them of being overly lenient and say a deal would compromise Iran’s national interests.

In a letter to the Iranian parliament today, members of a volunteer militia controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps criticized the talks’ secret nature, questioned whether Iran benefited from the interim deal and urged Iranian negotiators to put aside their “optimism about enemy intentions.”

“The final nuclear accord between Iran and world powers should be approved by the parliament before being signed,” the Basij militiamen wrote in the letter, published in full in Fars. Any deal should recognize that Iran has a right to enrich uranium, lift all international sanctions and reject snap inspections of nuclear-related sites to preserve Iran’s sovereignty, it said.

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