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Outspoken Lawmaker Says It Is A Good Time For Iran To Negotiate

FILE - Iranian MP, Ali Motahari, who is a social conservative but in recent years has turned into an outspoken critic of hardliners.

An outspoken member of Iran’s parliament who often criticizes hardliners in the ruling establishment has said that now is a good time for Iran to negotiate with the United States.

Ali Motahari was quoted by media in Iran as saying that because opponents of the Islamic Republic “were not able to agitate the people against the regime” and Iran was able to achieve “military successes” it is in “a position of power” and “this is a good opportunity” for negotiations.

President Donald Trump withdrew from the Obama-era multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran in May 2018, demanding a better deal and a change in Iran's behavior. This and the reimposition of hard sanctions on Iran has led to ever-increasing tensions in the Persian Gulf.

At the same time, Motahari has called on President Donald Trump’s administration to scrap “some or all sanctions” so that Iran “is given an incentive for talks”.

When U.S. sanctions were reimposed in 2018, some believed the resulting dire economic conditions will lead to unrest; either toppling the Iranian regime or forcing it to accept Washington’s conditions.

Motahari has also told Iran’s hardliners not to be more demanding than the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has said if the U.S. returns to the 2015 nuclear deal then Iran is ready to negotiate within that framework.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani refused to meet Donald Trump during the UN General Assembly in Iran this week, essentially repeating Khamenei’s position that talks will be possible only if the U.S. returns to the nuclear agreement.