Two former reformist members of the Iranian Parliament called Tuesday for the U.S. and Iran to compromise over the nuclear issue and to begin addressing longstanding grievances between the two countries. Fatameh Haghighatjoo and Seyed Aliakbar Mousavi, who resigned from the Iranian Parliament in 2004, discussed a proposal they wrote with five other former Parliamentarians to solve the Iranian nuclear issue at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Haghighatjoo, Mousavi and the other exiled Parliamentarians argued that Iran’s supreme leader must agree to limits on Iran’s nuclear program and more intrusive oversight by international inspectors under the Additional Protocol. In return, they argued that the United States must recognize Iran’s enrichment of nuclear fuel below five percent for peaceful purposes and lift sanctions on Iran. “It is time to say something loudly, that it is Iran’s right to get at least five percent enrichment,” Mousavi proclaimed.
Haghighatjoo said a democratic government in Iran is the real solution for the people, but that the nuclear dispute is an obstacle to this. “We think solving this problem may lead to opening up the political atmosphere inside the country,” she said. Haghighatjoo explained that sanctions will not lead to regime change and that sanctions relief would increase opportunities for the Iranian people to realize democracy in Iran. “Political forces, civil society, and activists will have a better opportunity to act.”
Haghighatjoo argued the sanctions weaken the Iranian people as well as the government, making democratic needs a luxury few can afford to focus on. “No one can bring people out for social or political status because they have to think of how to feed themselves and how to feed their family.”
As a result of the sanctions’ effects, anti-Western sentiments among Iranians will rise, Haghighatjoo said. “The West will gradually lose this social capital. From this perspective, we also believe that the West also gets hurt from these sanctions.”
In addition to sanction relief, the exiled Parliamentarians argued the West will need to recognize Iran’s nuclear rights. “According to international regulations and treaty obligations, Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes,” they wrote. Haghighatjoo agreed and said, “We know that the United States and the West, group 5+1, they would like to see the compliance of Iran, according to the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), but on the other hand, Iranians would like to see that Iran’s nuclear rights have been recognized.”