You’re a traitor!” bellows an ultra-conservative Tehran lawmaker to Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The minister has won acclaim for leading international negotiations over the country’s nuclear programme. But the secretly filmed outburst by Mahdi Kouchakzadeh highlights tensions pitting certain right-wing politicians against the Iranian government.
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The scene was secretly captured on film on Monday, May 25, by a member of Iran’s parliament and found its way onto social media networks. The video is testament to tensions simmering between the reformist government of President Hassan Rohani, which is open to negotiations, and segments of Iran’s ultra conservative political class, who favour a tough stance towards the West.
Javad Zarif was welcomed like a rock star on May 3 as he returned to Tehran after sealing a framework deal on Iran’s nuclear programme. But not everyone is a fan. The most conservative fringes of Iranian society, along with certain politicians, reckon that Zarif made too many concessions. In particular, they take fault with the part of the deal in which Zarif agreed not to create any new sites for enriching uranium.
During a meeting with Iranian lawmakers on Wednesday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei didn’t mention the incident filmed in parliament. But he did tell lawmakers that they should refrain from “calling the current government traitors”– a move described by some as an unsincere show of support for his foreign minister.
Initially published on France24 on 05/28/2015