Iranian: Sanctions brought us to 'tears'

U.S. and international sanctions brought Iranian officials to “tears,” a conservative Iranian lawmaker told the county's Fars News agency.

The candid admission from Mohammad Nabavian clashes with Iran's past cockiness about the sanctions, which are being relaxed as part of the Obama administration's interim nuclear deal. Nabavian said the pressure came to a head when ministers under the administration of firebrand former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would get lambasted by parliament for Iran's failure to export its oil, according to a translation by Al-Monitor.

“Toward the end of Ahmadinejad’s administration,” Nabavian said, “some of the ministers in closed meetings would shed tears and say to members of parliament, ‘You know our situation; why do you speak like this in open sessions?’”

The comments could be fodder for the Iran debate on Capitol Hill, where a bipartisan Iran sanctions bill is stuck in the Senate. Republicans – and many Democrats – say weakening the sanctions too soon would be a grave mistake, while the White House and its congressional allies say the Iranians know how damaging they can be and are inclined to negotiate a final deal that will alleviate international concerns that Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb.

Nabavian went on to criticize the interim nuclear deal, saying it had “damaged” Iran's independence, according to Al-Monitor. Hard-line Iranians have also slammed President Hassan Rouhani for not making the full text of the agreement public, as have Republican lawmakers in Congress.

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